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Laos to get 1 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

More than one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Laos on Thursday, giving a boost to the government’s efforts to protect people against the Covid-19 virus.
The vaccines are being provided via the COVAX Facility, a global initiative that distributes Covid-19 shots to low and middle-income countries. World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations are the core members of the COVAX platform.
Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sanong Thongsana told reporters on Tuesday that the vaccines would arrive soon, but did not specify a date.


However, a source at the ministry told Vientiane Times the shipment was due to reach Vientiane on Thursday.
The 1,008,000 doses of the vaccine have been donated by the United States, according to the US Embassy in Vientiane.
This vaccine only requires a single dose to be effective, meaning that as many as 1,008,000 people will be fully vaccinated.
“The United States is proud that these much-needed vaccines will support the government of Laos’ goal to vaccinate 50 percent of the population by the end of this year. Congratulations!” the embassy stated.
The planned delivery of the vaccines comes after US President Joe Biden announced in June that the United States would purchase and donate 500 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 92 countries, including Laos.
Some 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year and the remaining 300 million will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
The donated vaccines will boost the Lao government’s immunisation programme on the road to meeting the target to vaccinate 50 percent of the population by the end of this year.
As of July 13, a total of 1,030,461 people in Laos had received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, accounting for 14 percent of the population. Some 647,872 people have now had two doses, equal to 8 percent of the population, Dr Sanong said.
Authorities are expediting the vaccination programme as Laos strives to bring the virus outbreak under control.
The authorities have warned everyone in Laos to be cautiously alert as there is a high risk of a further outbreak given that a large number of Lao workers in foreign countries, notably in Thailand, where a severe outbreak is taking place are flocking back home.
Statistics show that at least 15 percent of the returnees are carrying the virus.
“This poses the threat of a widespread outbreak in our country,” Dr Sanong said.
On July 12, some 2,163 people entered Laos at various border crossings, Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Diseases Control, Ministry of Health, Dr Sisavath Soutthanilaxay told the daily press briefing.
On Tuesday, 76 new infections were confirmed out of 1,623 people who were tested for the virus. As many as 74 were imported cases, while two cases in Luang Namtha province were locally transmitted.
The new infections bring the total to 2,901. Three people have died and 683 people are currently under observation or receiving treatment in hospitals.

 



By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
July 14,
2021)


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