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Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Makes Good Progress

Source: Vientiane Times

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is underway and the majority of people in target areas have had their first dose of the vaccine.

The government plans to vaccinate at least 150,000 people in the initial stages of the programme.

As of April 4, some 103,000 people in at-risk groups had received their first vaccination, while 6,171 people have had their second doses, according to the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion under the Ministry of Health, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, told reporters that the sectors involved had vaccinated 85 percent of the target population.

The vaccination drive is part of Covid-19 prevention and control plans which health authorities are going all out to implement in a bid to keep the virus in check.

The vaccination programme has been expanded to cover more target groups in addition to health workers.

Civil servants and officials from ministries, ministry-equivalent organisations, local departments, foreign embassies, international organisations and their families, as well as some businesses categorised as being at risk, are now targeted under the expanded programme.

An earlier report stated that about 22 percent of the population, or about 1.6 million people, will be vaccinated this year.
Vaccination coverage is expected to rise to 70 percent of the population by 2022 with more people to be vaccinated in the following years.

Deputy Director of the Communicable Disease Control Department, Ministry of Health, Dr Sisavath Soutthanilaxay, asked everyone to be mindful of the risks posed by Covid-19 over Lao New Year and to act safely and considerately.

He urged people to hold only small parties and to strictly follow government guidelines concerning virus prevention measures.

Health workers are currently administering the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine. The UN-led COVAX Facility is expected to provide Laos with 480,000 doses of the vaccine this year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF have provided technical assistance to develop the national deployment and vaccination plan for Covid-19 vaccines to improve system preparedness and readiness to administer the vaccines.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the United Nations has redesigned the Sexual and Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health Services programme to continue providing essential health services during the pandemic with particular engagement by UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS.