By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, June 15: The Delek Hospital in partnership with Primary Health centre at McLeod Ganj began administering Covid-19 vaccines on Tuesday at the McLeod TCV Day school, and will continue to provide vaccines for the next four days until June 19th with the aim of vaccinating local residents of Dharamshala. As of today, the inoculation drive reached 96 people, where 27 Tibetans and 69 local Indians got vaccinated at the site.
Dr. Tenzin Tsundue, one of the Covid-19 Task Force members, spoke to Phayul about the ongoing initiative, “In collaboration with the government health centre, we were able to bring it here in McLeod Ganj. Since we are able to provide the place and human resources, it is more convenient for the general public.” Doctor Tsundue said that the usual procedure for registration is required to get the first jabs but also informed us that the slots fill up very quickly. “Every vaccination site provides 100 doses. It is very difficult to administer vaccines exclusively for Tibetans, but as a hospital, we have made it more convenient for the local population,” he further added.
The procurement of 500 Covishield vaccines is followed by a string of vaccination drives conducted by the hospital starting from March, which first targeted people over the age of 45 as mandated by the central government of India. Delek Hospital is also set to commence its own vaccination initiative but it has been delayed due to logistical barriers as Tsundue clarified, “Private hospitals like Fortis have an institutional franchise around cities as they can easily buy the vaccines in bulk and distribute it all across India. We are a single entity and cannot compete with hospitals like Apollo, Max and others. Last Thursday when PM Modi announced centralized vaccine distribution, we were able to place our orders on Friday.”
There have been no set vaccines available exclusively for Tibetans granted by the Indian government but organizations and individuals have procured vaccines in their own capacity. “It is a collaborative effort. If we are able to vaccinate local Tibetans and Indians, it will be safer for the whole community in Dharamshala,” Doctor Tsundue concluded.
The new leadership at the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) vowed to procure vaccines for the general Tibetan public as part of its revamped strategies to confront the pandemic. The CTA Covid-19 Emergency Task force Chair Palden Dhondup on Thursday announced that 13,429 Tibetans in India have received the recommended two doses of Covid-19 vaccine procured through respective state government centers as per the data received from the various settlements. Overall data suggested that a total of 26,451 Tibetans have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine which included those above 18 years.