44th COVID-19 Task Force Briefing

Dharamshala: In the nationwide vaccine drive that began on 16th December, 152 Tibetan health workers and front line workers have received the first shot of the vaccine. Mundgod, Orissa, Maio, Bir, and Dharamshala are the first key regions where the vaccine was rolled out.

“Despite the availability of vaccines, people should not treat the ongoing pandemic so casually”, advised Health staff Tsering as he appeals for extreme precautions ahead of Tibetan New Year. He urged the Tibetans to keep the gatherings small while endorsing the necessary precautions.

Updating the weekly status of the COVID cases across the Tibetan community in India and Nepal, Dr Tsamchoe reported 5 new cases and they are from Dekyiling, Dharamshala, Mainpat, Bylakuppe, and Pandoh. Of the total cases, the eldest is 43 and the youngest is 25 yrs old. Symptom wise, 2 are symptomatic and 3 are asymptomatic.

One case of death is also reported this week. A 69 yr old woman from Pandoh who was reportedly having underlying health issues had died from the infection.

The total number of reported cases of the exile Tibetan community stand at 1495 out of which 1440 recovered, 17 active cases, and 38 deaths.

As for the quarantine status, a total of 362 Tibetans in India and Nepal are in quarantine out of which 224 are home quarantined and 138 are at community quarantine centres.

Until now, a total of 24841 unit of immune boosters have been distributed so far. The mental health committee has tele-counselled 4 patients this week. Mass testing drive conducted across Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal covered 545.

Dr Tenzin Namdon precautioned against the widespread rumours and fake news on the efficacy of vaccines on social media. She urged the public to only follow the directives issued by the health authorities of respective regions.

Dr Namdon assured that while serious side effects after the vaccine are rare but a few small side effects in some cases are possible such as minor pain on the area of the shot, swelling, fever, and sneezing etc. These side effects are said to subside within a day or two.

She further informed that the optimum efficacy of the vaccine will only be seen after the second dose. That being said, there is, however, no guarantee that a person will be completely immune to the virus so additional precautions are highly urged.

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