VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh says donated Covid-19 vaccines from China and other countries will enable more free vaccinations to be offered and speed up progress towards immunisation targets.
Vaccinations have already been given in target areas such as places where cases of the virus have been identified, at-risk areas such as provinces bordering on virus outbreak countries, and provinces with large populations.
A fifth shipment of China’s Sinopharm vaccine containing another 1 million doses arrived in Vientiane on Saturday (Aug 7). This vaccine will be given to people aged 18 to 60.
Speaking at an official handover of the vaccine on Wednesday, Prime Minister Phankham said the new shipment would move the country closer to meeting the target to vaccinate 50 per cent of the population by the end of this year.
By the end of next year it is hoped that 70 per cent of the population will be inoculated, with more people to be vaccinated in the following years.
The prime minister 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,” he said.
China’s assistance reflects the concern, attention and caring nature of the Party, government and people of China towards Laos during these times of hardship and challenges, he added.
It also reflects the friendship engendered through the spirit of comprehensive strategic partnership in line with the four goods - good neighbours, good friends, good comrades and good partners - and the building of a community with a shared future between Laos and China.
China’s support is a contribution to the marking of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries and Laos-China Friendship Year 2021.
Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong said the donation of vaccines not only demonstrates China’s strong commitment to help developing countries but also reflects the true nature of Laos-China strategic cooperation.
China is willing to work with Laos to contribute to the betterment of human health and benefit people around the world, he added.
As of Aug 8, some 1.38 million people had received their first vaccination, while more than 1.23 million people have had two doses of a vaccine, according to the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.
From March to Aug 7 this year, Laos has received 4,419,060 doses of vaccines from friendly countries.
Of the total figure, about 2,950,000 doses of the donated vaccines are from China. - Vientiane Times/Asia News Network