Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on Monday said that the Indian government has announced that they will provide them COVID-19 vaccines for free.
"GoI (Government of India) has announced that they will provide vaccines for free and if we have to procure vaccines then His Majesty has said he would even provide from his personal resources," PM Tshering was quoted by The Bhutanese.
"If we have to buy the vaccines then we may to spend $6 million. His Majesty was informed by the GoI that they value the old ties with Bhutan and will help Bhutan. We have told GoI that we plan to vaccinate the whole eligible population in one go and they said they understand," PM Tshering said.
PM Tshering further said that Bhutan was likely to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India.
"It looks like we will get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India," he was quoted by the Bhutanese daily.
The Prime Minister also informed that Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has commanded that all Bhutanese abroad to get vaccinated.
"His Majesty has commanded that all Bhutanese abroad should be vaccinated too and if required then the embassies and missions will provide the resources if the vaccine has to be paid for," said Bhutan PM.
This comes after the Nepal Government approved the emergency use of the "Covishield" vaccine last week, which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
The Indian side assured that the "requirements of Nepal would be in priority consideration after the roll-out of vaccines", said the Nepal Embassy following the approval of the vaccine.
Last week, Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had said that India is a frontrunner in starting vaccinating people against COVID-19 and this "has given us great hope."
"Today as we wait for the availability of Covid-19 vaccines, India is one of the frontrunners. This has given us great hope. I take this opportunity to congratulate India and its innovative companies for success. Being next door, we believe we too will be availing these vaccines," Mr Gyawali said in a speech during an event organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs at Sapru House in Thimpu.
He had also lauded India's achievements in infrastructure, industrialisation and decades of successful democratic practice.
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