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Laos Has Enough Vaccine To Inoculate Total Population: Covid Taskforce

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos has now received more than 18 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which is sufficient to inoculate the total population of more than 7 million people, the Covid-19 taskforce has said.

Addressing the daily press briefing on Wednesday, a member of the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Dr Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, called on central and local authorities to quickly administer the vaccines.

Rapid rollout of the vaccination programme will achieve the target to vaccinate 80 percent of the population and immunise the general public against the virus so that the country can fully reopen and kickstart the green tourism strategy to revitalise the economy.

Residents of Vientiane can get vaccinations at the city’s main hospitals, namely Mittaphab, Mahosot, Setthathirath, 103 Bed, Hamasa (5 April) Hospital, Mother and Newborn Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital.

Priority groups including elderly people, those aged 12-17, and people with underlying health issues, can get a Pfizer booster (third dose) at the Chinese temple in Dongpalaeb village (from Monday to Friday), Lao-ITECC (from Monday to Friday), central hospitals, and at the nine district hospitals.

In the provinces, vaccinations can be had at provincial and district hospitals and at various designated locations.

As of Wednesday, more than 4.7 million people had received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, accounting for 64.76 percent of the population. More than 4.1 million people have now had two doses, accounting for 56.07 percent, according to Dr Rattanaxay, who is Director General of the Department of Communicable Diseases Control, Ministry of Health.

Authorities say that stepping up vaccination and immunisation coverage against the virus is vital for Laos’ reopening.

The government reopened the country to foreign tourists on January 1 but few visitors have arrived due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, while some countries have imposed travel restrictions following the Omicron outbreak.

Under the reopening policy, nationals of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, USA, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Israel, Austria, New Zealand, Poland, Denmark and Belgium are now allowed to enter Laos for the purposes of tourism.

However, visitors will be restricted to designated “green (safe) travel zones” in Vientiane, Luang Prabang province, and Vangvieng district in Vientiane province, from January 1 to March 30. Visitors must also be part of a package tour arranged by an authorised travel agent.