Source: Vientiane Times
The government will begin a nationwide rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations for children aged 6 to 11 next month, so that schools can reopen safely.
The Ministry of Health has instructed provincial and district health authorities around the country to calculate the number of children in this age group, who are now the priority group for immunisation.
Deputy Manager of the National Immunisation Programme, Dr Chansai Pathammavong, said “We plan to vaccinate children aged 6 to 11 after successfully inoculating children in this age group in Phongsaly province last month.”
She believes that about 957,000 children in this age group will be vaccinated in total.
It is also hoped that the vaccination of young children will encourage other family members to get vaccinated.
The vaccination of all children aged 6-11 will begin in Vientiane, while provinces that are ready to put the programme into operation may also go ahead with immunisation, Dr Chansai said.
Inoculations will be given to children only if their parents give their consent. The ministry will map out a vaccination plan while the education and sports ministry will inform parents about the importance of vaccination.
Familiarising parents about the need for immunisation will hopefully convince them to sign their children up for jabs.
The Pfizer vaccine will be offered to children aged 6-11 and to those with underlying health conditions.
Children enrolled in schools run by the education and sports ministry are also eligible for vaccination. The hope is that if sufficient numbers of children can be vaccinated, schools will be considered safe and allowed to reopen.
The health ministry also instructed local authorities and health officials to review the progress made in vaccinating people aged 12 to 17 and to ensure that jabs are administered to those who are still unvaccinated.
This includes adults with diseases such as cancer, chronic renal failure, chronic respiratory disease, and pregnant women.
Under the vaccination drive, medical staff, volunteers, equipment, funding and other essentials are being prepared to ensure that everyone in towns and rural communities is immunised.
The ministry also instructed authorities to open more vaccination centres at community dispensaries and in villages to provide easier access for local people.
First dose vaccinations have now reached 65.74 percent of the eligible population, while second dose vaccinations have now reached 57.86 percent, according to the Ministry of Health.
In the 12-17 age group, 57.9 percent of individuals have had a first dose of a Covid vaccine, while 4 percent have had two doses.