Media to Strengthen Promotion of COVID-19 Vaccination in Lao PDR
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, with the support of UNICEF, organized a briefing for news editors on how the media can play an instrumental role to improve COVID-19 vaccination coverage in northern Lao PDR.
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Vientiane, 14 June 2022 – Today, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the Mass Media Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) and UNICEF organised a briefing for news editors from national media outlets about the ongoing vaccinate lao campaign to enhance risk communication and community engagement and demand generation interventions to improve the COVID-19 vaccination campaign coverage in Lao PDR.
The meeting was co-chaired by Dr.Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director General of the Hygiene and Health Promotion Department of MOH, Mr. Somsavath Phongsa, Director General of the Mass Media Department of MICT, along with Mr. Bisrat Abiy, Health Specialist-in-Charge for UNICEF Lao PDR’s Health Section.
The briefing aimed to present the latest updates on the national COVID 19 vaccination rollout, particularly in the seven northern provinces of Luang Prabang, Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Xayaboury, Bokeo, and Vientiane. Following a recent discovery, vaccination rates in these provinces are still below the intended target.
“Vaccination is key to Lao PDR’s recovery from the various range of impacts of COVID-19. While there are still challenges to the rollout of vaccination in the northern provinces, there are also opportunities and we must continue encouraging our community members to get vaccinated,” stated Dr. Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director General of the Hygiene and Health Promotion Department of MOH.
The meeting participants further discussed how to improve the delivery of vaccination to community members to help achieve current national targets, the role of the media in the driving the nationwide vaccination campaign, alongside future vaccination plans, particularly among children.
“Mass Media, with its wide public reach, plays a vital role in disseminating accurate and trustworthy information on COVID-19 to the public. It is important that media outlets throughout the country strengthen their engagement with the public to aid progress towards our national vaccination targets,” stated Mr. Somsavath Phongsa, Director General of the Mass Media Department of MICT.
“Looking back, we have come far from where we started with the pandemic. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that our work is over. There is still more work to be done. COVID-19 is still very much with us and now with the looming threat of Omicron. Vaccines remain an indispensable tool in handling COVID-19 and it is crucial that everyone in the community, from children to the elderly, get vaccinated. UNICEF remains committed to working with the Government of Lao PDR on the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and engaging communities to build trust in vaccines,” stated Mr. Bisrat Abiy, Health Specialist-in-Charge for UNICEF Lao PDR’s Health Section.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.