From Left to Right Dr Tsering Tsamchoe,  Additional Sec. Jampa Phuntsok, Dr Tenzin Namdon. Photo Screengrab

Dharamshala: Additional Secretary of Health Department, Jampa Phuntsok updated on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in India which is likely to begin from 16th January.

As per the directives issued by the Health Department, Additional Secretary stated that the Tibetan settlements and the respective settlement officers have had discussions with the district heads to enable an equal availability of vaccines for the Tibetan people as well. Both Covidshield and Covaxin have been authorised by the Indian government to be the safest of the vaccines for emergency use and claimed no failure as far as a safety matter is concerned.

Since the availability of vaccines at the initial stage is limited, the Union Health Ministry has prioritised a group that will receive the vaccines first and it includes health care providers and workers followed by frontline workers including armed forces and police, management volunteers and municipal workers.

Besides that, any person above 50 years and those less than 50 years with associate comorbidities will also be prioritised. Once the first vaccine drive succeeds, the general public will be administered next.

Additional Secretary also informed that almost all the names of Tibetan health care workers and volunteers have been submitted to the respective district government. Following this, the names of those above 50 and those with comorbidities will be collected by the respective settlement offices.

“Additionally, those eligible for vaccines have the complete right to choose whether or not to take part in the vaccine drive”, said Additional Secretary.

Dr. Tsamchoe updated the weekly status of the COVID cases across the Tibetan community in India and Nepal.

According to the latest report shared by CTA’s COVID-19 Response Committee, 7 new cases are reported this week from the following regions: 3 from Ladakh, 1 from Dharamshala, 1 from Delhi, 1 from Kollegal, and from Mundgod. Of the total cases, the eldest is 47 yrs old and the youngest is 27 yrs old. Symptom wise, 5 are symptomatic and 2 are asymptomatic.

No cases of death have been reported this week or the last week.

The total number of reported cases of the exile Tibetan community stand at 1479 of which 31 are active cases, 1411 people have recovered and so far, 37 have died.

As for the quarantine status, 405 Tibetans in India and Nepal are currently at quarantine of which 262 are home quarantined and 143 at community quarantine centres. Until now, SORIG immune boosters have been distributed to 24,790 people. The mental health committee has tele-counselled one patient this week. The committee has also begun a programme supporting the mental health of health care providers and frontline workers called ‘Frontline workers well-being programs’. Mass testing drive conducted across Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal covered 608 Tibetans last week.

Dr Tenzin Namdon of Delek Hospital shared a few information on the upcoming vaccines rolls out in India.

She informed that once the vaccines are provided to the priority groups, it will be made accessible to the states according to the cases wise. Earlier this week, the central government has conducted a dry run of vaccines to ensure smooth vaccines drive once it gets approved for emergency use.

Delek Hospital was among the centres for a dry run in Kangara Distt informed Dr Namdon and further informs that once the shot gets approved the hospital will distribute the shots according to the priority basis.

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