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COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy remains a challenge in Savannakhet’s localities

Authorities of Phine, Phalanxay and Xonbouly continue to face challenges in increasing Covid-19 vaccination coverage with vaccine hesitancy being among the most common barriers, according to the Deputy Director of the Savannakhet Provincial Health Department Tiangkham Pongvongsa.

Vaccination uptake in Savannakhet and some other provinces remains low. Savannakhet has so far achieved only 67 per cent of its Covid-19 vaccination coverage plan for first doses and approximately 57 per cent for second doses.

Meanwhile those given third doses represent only 20 per cent.

“Our current plan is to increase vaccination coverage in areas that are immediately within reach, such as urban areas, especially when considering the heavy rainfall we are experiencing right now which can make the terrain more difficult to navigate in more remote areas. After ensuring improved vaccination coverage in those immediately accessible areas, we will focus on mobilising our vaccination efforts in rural areas,” Dr. Tiangkham told the media on Monday.

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) and the Ministry of Health (MOH), with support from UNICEF, is organizing a joint visit for journalists to Savannakhet province to observe and advocate COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the province.

A team of journalists from national media outlets, led by Deputy Director General of the Lao National Radio Mr. SangkhaneChoumkhamphanh is visiting Phine, Phalanxay and Xonboulydistricts of the southern province.

“COIVD-19 has severely affected the economy and livelihoods of the Lao people, and the provincial media has dedicated a lot of efforts towards promoting the COVID-19 response in Savannakhet,” said Ms. Daovone Saysoulian, Director of the Savannakhet Provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.

She explained that despite those efforts, challenges remain in increasing vaccination coverage due to financial constraints and limited human resources.

“Nevertheless, the promotion of COVID-19 vaccination remains an important task and the media is required to ramp up promotion efforts through its channels, including television, radio, newspapers and village loudspeakers,” she said.

Daily infections and deaths from the COVID-19 throughout the Lao PDR has been declining in the last couple of months thanks to steady progress in vaccination, with around 70 per cent of population in the country having already completed their primary series of vaccination.

Laos has an ambitious plan to increase the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination coverage to 80 per cent by 2022.

Source: Lao News Agency