Source: Vientiane Times
A shipment of another 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Laos on Monday, provided by the Chinese government.
This is the fifth delivery of vaccine produced by Sinopharm (China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd.) and will be used to vaccinate people aged 18 to 60 under the government’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.
At least 250,000 people in Laos will benefit from this shipment of the vaccine and the government is accelerating the vaccination programme in the hope of curbing the ongoing virus outbreak.
Sinopharm’s vaccine was provided under a Covid-19 response grant from China.
Upon arrival at Wattay International Airport, the shipment was handed over to the Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion and member of the National Taskforce for Covid-10 Prevention and Control, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, by a representative of the Chinese Embassy to Laos in the presence of Lao and Chinese government officials.
Dr Phonepaseuth told Vientiane Times that the consignment would move Laos closer to fulfilling vaccination targets, including the inoculation of people who had previously been unable to access the vaccine.
The vaccination rollout began in Vientiane and will expand to other high-risk areas such as Bokeo, Champassak and Savannakhet provinces.
“I would like to emphasise that while vaccines help to control Covid-19, we must all continue to maintain a safe distance from other people, wear face masks and regularly wash our hands with soap, even after having two doses of a vaccine,” Dr Phonepaseuth said.
The government aims to vaccinate 50 percent of the population this year and to immunise 70 percent by the end of 2022, with more people to be vaccinated in the following years.
The arrival of this latest shipment of vaccine represents yet another important milestone in Laos’ response to the pandemic and towards ensuring equitable and fair access to Covid-19 vaccines globally.
All of the Covid-19 vaccines currently in use in Laos have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation.
The Sinopharm, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer BioNTech vaccines are all being administered in Laos.
The first shipment of China-supported vaccine consisting of 2,000 doses arrived on December 31 last year. A second shipment was delivered in February and a third in April, followed by a fourth delivery of 300,000 doses.
According to the Ministry of Health, Laos has received 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and about 1,400,000 doses from Sinopharm.
Laos received its first shipment of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine last month through the COVAX Facility, a partnership between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, and the World Health Organisation.