Second batch of China-donated Covid-19 vaccines handed over to Laos

VIENTIANE, March 2 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Laos has received another 800,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from China, after vaccinating at least 40,000 people against the virus.

The second batch of China’s Sinopharm (China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd.) Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Laos on containing some 800,000 doses, with about 500,000being donated by the Chinese government and 300,000 doses coming from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

The first batch from China arrived on Feb 8.

The vaccines were provided under a Covid-19 response grant from China and were handed over on late on Wednesday (March 31) by the Chinese Ambassador to Laos, Jiang Zaidong, to Prime Minister Dr Phankham Viphavanh, at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane.

The then Minister of Health, Associate Prof Dr Bounkong Syhavong, was present on the occasion along with government officials from Laos and China.

Dr Phankham expressed his gratitude to China and the Chinese people for assisting Laos in its fight against the coronavirus.

“This assistance is critical for the Lao government, as well as the Lao people, and motivates them to combat the virus. These vaccines will assist Laos in more effectively dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr Phankham said.

Ambassador Jiang said the donation of vaccines not only demonstrated China’s strong commitment to help developing countries but also reflected the true nature of Laos-China strategic cooperation.

China was willing to work with Laos to contribute to the betterment of human health and benefit people around the world, he added.

So far, China has supplied more than US$ 1 million worth of Covid-19 vaccine to Laos.

The first shipment of 2,000 doses arrived in December last year, followed by a second batch of 300,000 doses in February.

Over 40,000 medical workers have been vaccinated, as well as individuals in high-risk groups across the country, using both the Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines.

It is expected that about 20 per cent of the population, or about 1.6 million people, will be vaccinated this year.

Vaccination coverage is expected to rise to 50 per cent of the population by 2022 and to 70 percent in 2023, with more people to be vaccinated in the following years.

All vaccines take time to provide immunity and no vaccine can be guaranteed to provide total immunity in every individual, Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong said. This means it is possible for someone to fall ill even after being vaccinated.

Laos also received its first shipment of the Oxford Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine last month through the COVAX Facility, a partnership between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, and the World Health Organisation. - Vientiane Times/ANN
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