VIENTIANE, Aug 6 (Vientiane Times/ANN): A new shipment of Covid-19 vaccine donated by the Government of Japan to Laos through the COVAX Facility has arrived in Vientiane.
The 616,820 doses of the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured in Japan, will be used to immunise more than 300,000 people in Laos by the end of this year.
The shipment was officially handed over at Wattay International Airport on Thursday evening (Aug 5).
Vice President Pany Yathotou, on behalf of Laos, thanked the Japanese government and people for their generous contribution of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.
The government welcomes this latest shipment of vaccine and thanks the government of Japan for this important contribution to Laos’ vaccination programme, she said.
This latest batch of vaccine will help move Laos’ vaccination efforts forward and bring the country closer to its goal of vaccinating 50 percent of the population by the end of this year.
“Japan’s assistance is a clear indication of the good cooperation between our two countries through our comprehensive partnership,” Pany said.
Ambassador of Japan to Laos Keizo Takewaka said the Japanese government has been a firm supporter of the government of Laos in its Covid-19 response since the initial outbreak of the virus, having previously donated personal protective equipment for frontline health workers and oxygen equipment for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, as well as strengthening Laos’ cold chain capacity under the “Last One Mile Support” programme.
UNICEF Representative to Laos Dr Pia Rebello Britto said “With the arrival of every new shipment of vaccine, we move closer towards our goal of preventing further community transmission and bringing this pandemic under control.”
“We have already seen the effectiveness of vaccines in saving lives. Therefore, only by ramping up our efforts to roll out vaccines, not just only for Covid-19 but also for childhood immunisation, can we hope to restore the lives of families and children from the damage caused by the pandemic.”
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and CEPI, working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, civil society organisations, manufacturers, and others.
COVAX is part of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
Gavi board members represented in Laos include Australia, Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. - Vientiane Times/ANN