Lao PDR and Partners Commence Nationwide Measles and Rubella Vaccination Campaign

17 May 2024
A nurse administering the measles and rubella vaccine for a child.
UNICEF Lao PDR/2024/KPhiennachit

Vientiane Capital, 17 May 2024 – Lao PDR, in collaboration with its partners, today launched a crucial nationwide measles and rubella vaccination campaign. This initiative, unveiled at Vientiane Center in the capital, targets children under five, and focuses on immunizing over half a million children against these preventable diseases.

The campaign is a joint initiative by the Ministry of Health of Lao PDR, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Government of Australia, UNICEF, and WHO. It is      a strategic response to the global increase in measles and rubella cases, attributed to low vaccination rates among children.

Health Vice Minister, H.E. Dr. Snong Thongsana, emphasized the critical timing and necessity of this campaign. "This campaign marks a decisive moment in our unwavering commitment to safeguard the health of our children. Vaccinations play a crucial role in combating the serious threats posed by measles and rubella," stated Dr. Thongsana. The measles and rubella vaccine      is available free of charge at all public health centres.

Nadia Lasri, Senior Country Manager and Coordinator of Gavi support in Lao PDR, also emphasized the need to reach the most vulnerable groups with the vaccines. “Gavi's support for this nationwide measles-rubella campaign builds on our ongoing efforts to strengthen Lao PDR's routine immunization program. With global cases rising, we must double down on our efforts to      reach every child, especially those unvaccinated, and ensure no community is left behind.”

In February 2024, Lao PDR received over 668,500 doses of the measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to help protect against and prevent the spread of the two illnesses as part of Gavi’s support to the country’s routine immunization efforts.

During the event, representatives of partner organisations in the campaign also      highlighted the broader implications of vaccination and urged parents to bring their children for the vaccines.

This vaccination campaign is critical to protecting children across Lao PDR from measles and rubella.  Australia is proud to have supported the Ministry of Health to roll out this live-saving work, in partnership with Gavi, WHO and UNICEF,” said Dan Heldon, Charge d’Affaires at the Australian Embassy in Lao PDR

“In confronting the resurgence of these diseases, our actions today will determine the future health of our children,” said Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR. “During this critical window of opportunity, I urge all parents to bring your children to the nearest health centre or hospital to receive this life-saving vaccine, which is provided free of charge.”

Dr. Yu Lee Park, Officer in Charge, WHO Lao PDR, also praised the collaborative efforts under this campaign, including the work of frontline health workers: “I commend the leadership of the Ministry of Health and tireless efforts of the health workers who are the key link in providing vaccines throughout the country, from urban centres to the most remote areas.”

All vaccines in Lao PDR have been approved by WHO and the Ministry of Health and are proven safe and effective in protecting children from severe illnesses and life-threatening diseases.

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