COVID-19 vaccination to be expanded in Laos, become mandatory in Cambodia hinh anh 1A medical worker gives a COVID-19 vaccine shot to a resident in Phnom Penh capital of Cambodia (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – Laos is set to expand COVID-19 vaccination to more groups after receiving vaccines in bulk from other countries and international organisations.

Apart from the frontline forces, the vaccination programme in Laos will also cover cadres and employees of ministries, ministry-level agencies, departments and sectors of localities, staff of embassies and international organisations, their families, along with those working for high-risk businesses.

The Lao Ministry of Health’s Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion said about 932,000 vaccine doses recently supplied for the country have been distributed to provinces. They consist of 800,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine and another 132,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provided by UNICEF and WHO via the COVAX Facility.

As of April 4, 102,491 people of high-risk groups in Laos had received the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines while 6,171 had been injected with the second doses.

The country plans to vaccinate about 20 percent of its population, equivalent to about 1.6 million people, against the coronavirus disease this year. The percentage is expected to reach 50 percent in 2022, 70 percent in 2023, and more in the following years.

In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to people, particularly the remaining armed force members and civil servants, to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the AKP news agency.

He said vaccination will become mandatory, not on a voluntary basis anymore, except for those who cannot be vaccinated due to health problems certified by medical professionals.

The PM noted the next group prioritised for the vaccination is residents in Phnom Penh capital and neighbouring Kandal province, which are facing high transmission risks.

He also requested all ministers and municipal and provincial governors to assess how many civil servants have yet to be vaccinated, calling on all people to contribute to the pandemic combat.

Almost 100 percent of the military have received the first shots of COVID-19 vaccine, while about 80 percent already got their second jabs, Hun Sen said.

On late April 6, the Cambodian PM issued a decision on temporarily banning movement between provinces from April 7 to 20 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In the morning of April 7, the country’s health ministry announced 91 new cases of COVID-19, with 90 being local infections. The national count reached 2,915, including 1,824 recoveries and 22 deaths./.