Ministry of Health, Australia, and UNICEF Mark One Year Anniversary of Cooperation on Safe and Effective COVID-19 Immunization

Today marks the one year anniversary since the beginning of their cooperation under the ongoing programme to support safe and effective deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in Lao PDR

31 May 2022
Group photo
©UNICEF Laos/2022/SSanoubane

May 31, 2022 – Today, the Ministry of Health, Australia and UNICEF marked the one-year anniversary of their cooperation under the ongoing programme for COVID-19 vaccination in the Lao PDR, supported by Australia and implemented by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health.

Australia has committed more than AUD22million (~USD16m) over three years (2021-2023) to support the Ministry of Health through UNICEF to implement Laos’ National Vaccine Deployment Plan for COVID-19. As part of this commitment, Australia provided over AUD3.8 million to UNICEF to support the Ministry of Health to ensure safe and effective deployment of COVID-19 vaccines to the Lao people.

The funding to UNICEF focuses on technical assistance to the Ministry to support the introduction and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, raising public awareness about the benefits of vaccination, strengthening capacity of health workforce, and improving health and immunization systems to ensure equitable access. These programme activities are being implemented in priority villages in all 148 districts across all 18 Provinces.

To mark this occasion, Minister for Health, H.E. Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, alongside Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR, H.E. Mr Paul Kelly, and UNICEF Lao PDR, Deputy Representative, Operations, Ms Yelena Soldatova, visited a school in Vientiane Capital to observe a demonstration of the vaccination delivery system in Lao PDR. In addition, a popular Lao singer, Aluna Thavonsouk, who has recently been appointed as the first National UNICEF Ambassador for Lao PDR, gave a musical performance promoting COVID-19 vaccination during the event.

“Australia has been among the key supporters to the country’s COVID-19 vaccination. The Ministry of Health highly appreciates Australia’s invaluable assistance and UNICEF for their support in ensuring safe and effective rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Lao PDR,” said H.E. Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, Minister of Health.

“A safe and effective vaccine rollout is critical to ending the pandemic and promoting economic recovery. As a strong friend and partner of Laos, Australia remains committed to supporting Laos’ COVID-19 vaccine rollout. We are pleased to be working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF to respond to the impact of COVID-19” said Mr. Paul Kelly, the Australia Ambassador to Lao PDR.

Early this year, Australia provided over 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to support the government’s efforts in increasing vaccination coverage, especially in target groups including women, elderly, and people with disability in remote areas.

“We thank Australia for their generous support towards the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. UNICEF is committed to working with the Government of the Lao PDR and our partners in strengthening COVID-19 vaccination in Lao PDR, including engaging communities around vaccines and strengthening the systems to deliver those vaccines to them,” said Ms Yelena Soldatova, Deputy Representative, Operations, UNICEF Lao PDR.

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