ERDENEBULGAN, ARKHANGAI PROVINCE, MONGOLIA — The rural three-story hospital has run out of beds. A thin young woman sits in a narrow bunk, borrowed from a nearby dormitory. A masked, hooded nurse carefully examines her, using a handheld radio to communicate with a doctor across the crowded facility.
The patient, Ganzul Tsogtgerel, is a 20-year-old business student at the University of the Humanities in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. Although fully vaccinated and diligent about wearing a mask, she caught a COVID-19 “breakthrough infection” while summering with her parents in Arkhangai province.
“It was already 16 days past my second dose,” she says in disbelief. “Suddenly one day, I had a headache, coughed and lost my sense of taste and smell.”
Ganzul’s shock and disappointment mirror the national mood.
Based on its healthy population, border controls and stockpile of free vaccines – Oxford-AstraZeneca from the United…