Today, 415,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from the British government have been handed over by British Ambassador John Pearson to Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune.
The official ceremony took place at the Ministry of Health. Senior government officials, key members of the British Embassy, and country representatives of UNICEF in the Lao PDR and the World Health Organization attended the event.
Ambassador John Pearson said, “The UK wants to make vaccines equitable for all, so that the most vulnerable people around the world can be protected from COVID-19. The UK is a key donor to COVAX, and I am pleased that COVAX has delivered over one and a half million doses of COVID vaccines to Laos. This further bilateral donation of 415,000 doses from the UK will help the Lao government with its target to vaccinate 50% of the population by the end of this year, and will support the Lao government’s strong response to the pandemic.”
ASEAN states including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as Africa and several countries in the Caribbean are also expected to receive AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines from the UK government this week.
The vaccines which arrived on Aug 2 were the first deployment of 100 million vaccine doses, pledged by the British government to help lower and middle income countries tackle the pandemic over the next year, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on Jul 28.
“The UK is sending 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Laos as part of the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged, to get the most vulnerable parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency. We’re doing this because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe.” – Dominic Raab said.
At the G7 Summit last June, world leaders pledged to mobilise 1 billion doses of surplus vaccines to more countries in need, with the aim to end the global pandemic in the coming year.
The COVAX facility which works to ensure fair and equitable vaccines for all, has delivered over 2 million doses of vaccines to the Lao PDR this year, including 1,000,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that arrived last month from the United States government and 616,820 from Japan yesterday. The UK is the third largest donor to COVAX, after the US and Germany.
Source: Lao News Agency