VIENTIANE, Oct 11 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Laos will receive another 1.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the governments of China and South Korea this week, a senior health official has confirmed.
China will provide 1 million doses of Sinopharm while the ROK will deliver 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca, Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphome, announced.
The new deliveries will bolster Laos’ efforts to vaccinate at least 50 percent of the population by the end of this year.
“In the fourth quarter of this year, we need to source and procure more vaccine because at present only 41 percent of the population has been given a first dose of a vaccine,” he said.
Dr Phonepaseuth highlighted the importance of vaccination in overcoming the Covid crisis, urging people in all at-risk groups to come forward and be vaccinated, in order to minimise the impacts on people’s health and the economy.
“No one is known to have died from the side effects of the vaccine. All 24 deaths reported in Laos occurred among people with underlying health conditions and who had not been fully immunised,” he said.
In the UK, football matches and other sports have been allowed to resume after 79 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, Dr Phonepaseuth said.
“Some countries have reopened after 80 per cent of their populations have been vaccinated. But immunisation alone is not enough reason to reopen a country as it depends on how serious the community spread is in that country and its neighbours,” he added.
Prior to April this year, Laos recorded less than 50 cases of Covid-19 but the country’s borders remained closed due to the severe outbreak in Thailand, he explained.
Concerning questions as to why vaccinated people still contracted the virus, Dr Phonepaseuth said the vaccine significantly boosted immunity, preventing hospitalisation and death.
“The vaccines developed so far do not prevent the transmission of Covid but reduce the severity of symptoms and the effects on people’s health. This means it’s essential to continue to observe social distancing, wear face masks and use hand sanitiser to keep the virus from spreading,” he said.
Older people and those with underlying health condition are urged to get vaccinated. Authorities also plan to vaccinate students aged 12 and older so that schools can reopen in the near future.
So far, more than 3 million people in Laos have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, while more than 2.1 million people have received both doses, according to the Centre of Information and Education for Health.
Laos has so far received six types of Covid-19 vaccine, including more than 5 million doses of the Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines. - Vientiane Times/ANN