VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network):A shipment of 501,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine provided to Laos by the government of Poland arrived in Vientiane on Tuesday (Dec 21).
As the Covid outbreak spreads in Laos, the government is mobilising assistance from various sectors and friendly countries to supplement its own resources.
Ministry of Health officials received the shipment at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane.
“The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by Poland 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 and about 70 per cent by the end of next year,” a senior ministry official said.
“This delivery will move us closer to achieving this target. I would like to emphasise that vaccines are our first line of defence against Covid-19.”
“Not only have we been given the AstraZeneca vaccine by Poland, 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.
“Poland’s donation of 501,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Laos is part of efforts to get people in the most vulnerable parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency. This is being done because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe,” he said.
The vaccine donated by Poland demonstrates the European Union’s global solidarity and support for Laos in the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic and its impact.
The Lao government is accelerating the vaccination process to bolster immunity among the general population, according to the Ministry of Health.
Earlier this month, Poland gave another 138,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Laos.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland said Laos was currently experiencing the highest Covid infection rate since the start of the pandemic.
The ministry also said the Lao government was appealing to the international community for more support for its vaccination programme.
The ministry gave its assurance that vaccine reserves in Poland were sufficient to cover national needs as well as donations to countries in need.
Poland has also sent Covid vaccines to Egypt, Vietnam, Taiwan, Kenya, Ukraine, Australia, Norway, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bangladesh, Rwanda and the Philippines.