Source: Vientiane Times
Health authorities say foreign nationals living and working in Laos can get Covid-19 vaccinations free of charge, including diplomats, overseas workers, government workers, students, business people, and employees of international organisations.
Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion and member of the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, told Vientiane Times that foreign nationals who wish to be vaccinated can go to district, provincial or central hospitals to find out if they meet the stated criteria.
However, they cannot choose which vaccine they will receive as the government has allocated the different vaccines for separate target groups.
Many people want to have the Pfizer vaccine but this is only available for older adults.
Vaccinations are currently taking place in hospitals, including district hospitals, which have appropriate facilities.
The government does not allow anyone to buy vaccines for commercial purposes and everyone has equal access to vaccines without discrimination, regardless of their wealth status.
Health officials are continuing to vaccinate target groups and to offer the vaccine to all other citizens so that immunisation targets can be reached or even exceeded.
People who expect to enter or leave Laos, such as diplomats, foreign workers, government employees, students, businesspeople, and the staff of international organisations, can also register to be vaccinated.
These people must register their intention with the Covid-19 taskforce and their request will be urgently considered.
The AstraZeneca vaccine will be given to medical personnel and individuals in at-risk groups, as well as people aged 60 or above.
Individuals with a chronic illness, such as respiratory or cardiovascular disease, asthma, obesity, immunodeficiency, and others, will also receive the vaccine.
The Sinopharm vaccine will be given to people aged 18 to 60.
The Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine is also being administered. The priority is to start vaccinating older adults before immunising the rest of the population. While vaccine supplies are limited, it is recommended that priority be given to health workers at high risk of exposure and older people, including those aged 65 or older.
The vaccine has been found to be safe and effective in people with various conditions that are associated with increased risk of severe disease. This includes hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pulmonary, liver or kidney disease, as well as chronic infections that are stable and controlled.
Authorities have cautioned the public to take extreme care while awaiting vaccinations and to wear a face mask, use hand sanitiser, and observe the rules on social distancing.