Source: Vientiane Times
The Ministry of Health on Monday received more than 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine donated by Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands through the COVAX Facility.
The new shipment will bolster the government’s efforts to contain the Covid outbreak, including the goal to vaccinate 50 percent of the adult population by the end of this year.
The vaccine will primarily be given to those who are at risk of severe infection and have not yet received all recommended doses of a Covid vaccine.
Priority groups include healthcare workers, people aged 60 and over, people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, and essential workers including schoolteachers across the country, in line with the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.
Deputy Minister of Health Dr Snong Thongsna, UNICEF Representative to Laos Dr Pia Rebello Britto, European Union Ambassador to Laos Ms Ina Marčiulionytė, WHO Representative to Laos Dr Jun Gao, and senior ministry officials gathered in Vientiane to receive the shipment.
The new allotment of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine consists of a direct contribution of 132,000 doses from the COVAX Facility and separate dose-sharing donations of the same vaccine from Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands through the COVAX Facility.
“The government welcomes this new shipment of vaccine from the COVAX Facility and thanks the governments of Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands for their highly valuable contribution. This will support Laos in its ongoing Covid-19 vaccination programme and our target to immunise 70 percent of the total population by the end of 2021,” Minister of Health Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith said.
Ms Marčiulionytė said “I am honoured and proud to see the contribution of European countries including Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in Laos. To make sure the vaccine reaches everyone, especially the most vulnerable, the EU is working tirelessly to bring more vaccines to Laos.”
Dr Jun Gao said “These Covid-19 vaccines are proven safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death. As cases increase in Laos, the vaccines will contribute towards mitigating transmission of the virus when implemented alongside public health and social measures. These are also vital to end the pandemic and accelerate global recovery.”
Dr Britto said “It is great to see more Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Laos and the current progress we are making in vaccinating the population. UNICEF is delighted to have played a part in this endeavour and COVAX’s global mission towards ensuring vaccine equity.”