Today, Vice Minister of Health, Dr. Sanong Thongsana, and UNICEF Representative to the Lao PDR Pia Rebello Britto co-chaired a briefing for the media on the results of the survey on COVID-19 vaccination coverage in designated tourism green zones, which include Vientiane, Vientiane province, and Luang Prabang province.
The survey, conducted between January and March 2022, reveals that vaccination coverage in green travel zones is high, reaching 99.67 per cent coverage rate.
Participants of the survey also displayed sufficient preventive knowledge of COVID-19, with the common preventive practices against COVID-19 mentioned including avoiding shaking hands (85 per cent), wearing a mask (58.9 per cent), washing hands more often (18.2 per cent) and avoiding alcohol consumption (16.5 per cent).
The survey also reveals the key sources of information on COVID-19 for the Lao people, with the majority (85 per cent) of participants saying that they receive this information primarily through Facebook; 78.7 per cent receive COVID-19 messages from workplace/colleagues and 41.3 per cent get their news from village loudspeakers.
“The Lao PDR’s economic recovery is dependent on policies that support businesses and households to adapt to the new normal. To achieve this, COVID-19 vaccination coverage must be achieved at 100 per cent. Today’s presentation of the survey results suggests that we are on the right track in reaching our objective and the path towards the recovery and reopening of the country,” stated Vice Minister Sanong Thongsana.
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the social and economic life in the Lao PDR and has brought the country’s tourism sector to a near-complete standstill after decades of extraordinary growth. Globally, international tourist arrivals fell to levels not seen since 1990.
The importance of tourism in the Lao PDR goes beyond the country’s economy. The sector is also a key pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a unique ability to contribute to most – if not all – of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including through providing opportunities for children, youth, women, and communities, and helping preserve and promote natural and cultural heritage.
Reopening the country will help revive the tourism sector and hospitality industry as a source of income for the Lao PDR. However, to achieve this, maximum levels of COVID-19 vaccination services coverage must be achieved and preventive measure, especially in green travel zones, must be advocated.
“The survey results demonstrate the success of the Vaccinate Laos campaign and confirms that the Government’s strategy and investment work. Furthermore, this success would not have been possible without the support of development partners, especially through their contribution of vaccines via the COVAX Facility and support on the communication campaign on vaccination in all 18 provinces of the Lao PDR,” stated UNICEF Representative, Dr. Pia Rebello Britto.
“Our meeting today further coincides with World Immunization Week, which is celebrated at the last week of every April and is aimed at highlighting the life-saving power of vaccines.
Thus, I would like to take this opportunity to remind us not only of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination but also of childhood immunization in saving lives.
We must ensure that our efforts in vaccinating the population against COVID-19 should not come at the expense of routine childhood immunization,” she added.
Source: Lao News Agency