Laos receives first delivery of Covid vaccine from UK

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): The first consignment of 415,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine provided to Laos by the United Kingdom (UK) government arrived in Vientiane on Monday (Aug 2) to bolster efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

As the outbreak spreads, the government has mobilised assistance from various sectors and friendly countries to supplement its own resources.

Accepting the delivery of the UK aid package at the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane, Minister of Health Dr Bounfeng Phommalaisith said he highly valued the United Kingdom’s assistance.

“The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine supported by the UK is very timely as the government has set an ambitious target to vaccinate 50 per cent of the population by the end of this year,” he said.

“This delivery will move us towards the achievement of this target. I would like to also emphasise that vaccines are our first line of defence against Covid-19.”

“Not only have we been given the AstraZeneca vaccine by the UK; we welcome the support of all countries who can provide Covid vaccines to Laos, all of which have been emergency use listed by the World Health Organization, giving assurance about their quality, safety and efficacy,” he added.

“The UK is sending 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Laos as part of the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged, to get the most vulnerable parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency. We’re doing this because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

The UK will begin delivering 9 million Covid-19 vaccines around the world this week, first to Indonesia, Jamaica and Kenya, to help tackle the pandemic.

Five million doses of vaccines are being offered to Covax to ensure equitable access to Covid vaccines globally. Covax is urgently delivering these to lower-income countries, prioritising communities who need them most, according to a press release from the British Embassy.

Another 4 million doses will be shared bilaterally with countries in need, including Laos. This week’s deployment is expected to reach Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand in the coming days, among other countries.

Each of these countries has been provided with 415,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, made by Oxford Biomedica in Oxford.

Countries experiencing higher Covid-19 cases and deaths have been offered more vaccines.

A total of 600,000 doses have been given to Indonesia, 817,000 to Africa, and about 500,000 doses more will be shared across several countries in the Caribbean.

The Covax facility was kickstarted in 2020 with a Euro 548 million vaccine funding from the British government for lower-income countries. - Vientiane Times/Asia News Network

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Laos , covid-19 , vaccine , UK


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