How to fast-track vaccinations

We love the story of Bhutan’s vaccine rollout. The Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom, nestled between India and China, managed to vaccinate 93% of its adult population in just 16 days. After being gifted 150 000 doses by India, it decided to wait till it had enough for a quick and powerful vaccination strategy, and to avoid rationing. 

But the way Bhutan got its religious population onboard by turning the campaign into a lively national event is most interesting. The prime minister is a doctor, and the health minister has a degree in epidemiology. But they didn’t just bash their population over the head with science. They consulted a body of Buddhist monks called the Zhung Dratshang to advise on the most auspicious way to start the inoculations, down to the birth sign of the first recipient. The first shot was administered while prayers were chanted and butter lamps lit, The Economist reported. 🙏 Then an orange-clad national-service corps called the Guardians of Peace helped enact the quick and widespread vaccination strategy. The result? One of the world’s most effective Covid vaccine rollouts. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 18 February 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.