Lao PDR Receives 151,200 Pfizer Doses in Latest Donation by the United States of America

08 November 2023
Nurse with vaccine.
UNICEF/2023

Vientiane, 8 November 2023 – The Government of Lao PDR has received a new shipment of 151,200 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, primarily to serve as booster doses, in a bilateral donation from the United States government via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), delivered to the country through the COVAX Facility with the support of UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO).

With this donation, the Lao PDR government will be able to provide further protection against the virus to people in high-risk groups in line with the country’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan, particularly those aged 60 and above, pregnant women, health workers and those with underlying health conditions.

Currently, almost 78 percent of the population has completed all doses of COVID-19 vaccine primary series. Moreover, about 29 percent of the elderly population have received COVID-19 booster doses.

“These donated vaccines will save lives,” said Dr. Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director General of Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Ministry of Health. “Although the emergency phase of COVID-19 is over, the virus continues to spread globally and throughout Lao PDR and remains a threat to people in high-risk groups. People aged over 60 years, people with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women are all at risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. Along with healthcare workers, they are the priority to receive the extra protection of a booster vaccine.”

Michelle Y. Outlaw, Chargée d’affaires of the United States of America in Lao PDR, highlighted the expanding partnership between the United States and Lao PDR. “We are committed to stand alongside Lao PDR in preparing for future health crises. These additional effective vaccines will continue to support Laos in protecting the most vulnerable, the hardest to reach communities, and save more lives.”

The arrival of these vaccines from the United States Government further highlights the deepening bilateral cooperation between Lao PDR and the United States, particularly in the area of public health.

The United States government has been a consistent supporter of the Government of Lao PDR during the COVID-19 pandemic, mobilising resources to assist the country’s response to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition to providing almost 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Lao PDR so far, the United States has also provided over USD 16 million of programmatic support to strengthen infection, prevention and control, risk communication, oxygen supply and readiness, as well as helped strengthen Lao PDR’s cold chain system to ensure that vaccines can be stored and delivered to vulnerable groups throughout the country at the optimal temperature.

“We thank the United States government for this support to Lao PDR and for being a steadfast ally to Lao PDR’s efforts to tackle COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR.

“Lao PDR can be very proud of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout to date which has kept severe illness and deaths due to the virus at low levels,” said Dr. Ying-Ru Lo, WHO Representative to Lao PDR. “This generous donation from the United States government will help Lao PDR maintain and build on this impressive record.”

All vaccines in use in Lao PDR have been approved by WHO and the Ministry of Health, and are proven safe and effective in protecting people from severe illness due to COVID-19.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and CEPI, working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others. COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. 

Media contacts

Visith Khamlusa
Director
Center of Communication and Education for Health
Tel: +856 20 2250 2862
Simon Nazer
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Lao PDR
Tel: +856 2055519681

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