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Health Ministry Admits Low Uptake Of Covid Booster Shots

Source: Vientiane Times

Although 72 percent of the population have had two Covid vaccinations, only 14 percent have had a booster dose, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

Head of the ministry’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Division, Dr Kongxay Phounphenghack, said on Monday that many people are reluctant to have a third dose of a Covid vaccine because they believe it is unnecessary.

However, a booster vaccination offers significant added protection against the virus, he added.

To step up the fight against Covid through the provision of third doses of vaccine across the country, precisely coordinated efforts by healthcare workers will be required, he said.

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Health authorities are expediting the vaccination programme as Laos strives to prevent a further outbreak of the virus.

As of October 22, a total of over 5.9 million people (81 percent) had received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, while more than 5.32 million people, or 72 percent of the population, had received two doses.

But only 14 percent of people have had a third vaccination. Authorities are warning everyone in Laos to be alert as there is a high risk of a further outbreak, given that a large number of Lao workers are returning from other countries, where Covid-19 infections are spiralling. Statistics show that at least 15 percent of returning workers are carrying the virus.

This poses the threat of a widespread outbreak in Laos. The World Health Organisation and UNICEF are assisting with the national deployment and vaccination plan and improving preparedness for the administration of vaccines. Meanwhile, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF has redesigned the Sexual and Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Services programme to enable the continuing provision of essential health services for pregnant women.