LAOS (Vientiane Times/Asia New Network): The Health Ministry will provide booster Covid-19 vaccinations for medical staff, so they are better protected and able to continue the battle against the virus.
The third round of vaccinations is expected to be rolled out in January and February next year, with at least 70,000 doses to be administered to medical staff. Deputy Director of the National Centre for Maternal and Child Health, Dr Viengkhan Phixay, said yesterday that medical staff working on the frontline of efforts to control the virus outbreak are at highest risk because they work in close proximity to people infected with Covid on a daily basis.
Even though they wear personal protective equipment, some staff still pick up the virus.
“Doctors and nurses must be our priority for booster shots. This is because they are directly involved in the care of Covid patients,” she said. “If they are healthy, Covid patients will have more doctors and nurses to tend to their needs.”
In recent days, the number of new Covid-19 cases reported has been around 1,000 each day. If medical staff become unwell, efforts to combat the virus will weaken, including patient treatment, so it is essential they are given a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine to boost their immunity to the virus.
Booster vaccinations will also help to reduce the overall rate of infection over time. If people do contract Covid-19 after being vaccinated, they are much less likely to become seriously ill.
Elderly people, people with a chronic illness, government personnel, soldiers, police and others considered to be at risk of infection will also be given first consideration when booster vaccinations become available.
The National Centre for Maternal and Child Health is gearing up to vaccinate more people this week, to ensure that 50 percent of the adult population is immunised by the end of this year.
Booster shots are seen as another step on the road to enabling the government to reopen the country.
To ensure that more people are vaccinated, the Centre is publicising the importance and benefits of vaccination in the media by granting interviews.
The Centre is also advertising vaccinations on social media to encourage everyone to come forward and be inoculated.
Dr Viengkhan urged people who have not yet been vaccinated to seek out the nearest source of vaccine and request an injection as soon as possible.
Covid vaccines have been distributed throughout the country and are available at provincial and district hospitals and healthcare centres.