Laos bans COVID-19 vaccines for commercial purchases hinh anh 1

A health worker prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccine to a local resident. (Photo: XINHUA/VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) - The Lao government has banned privately-owned entities from purchasing COVID-19 vaccines with the intent to sell them but allowing them to buy vaccines for their own use.

Explaining the reason for the ban, Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion under the Ministry of Health, Phonepaseuth Ounaphome, said the ban aimed at staving off complaints from members of the public about unequal access to vaccines by poor and wealthy people.

He said the government understood public concerns about a shortage of supply of vaccines but government stocks were sufficient and it was anticipated that more vaccines would be delivered in the near future.

Extra supplies will also help the government fulfil its ambitious target to vaccinate 50 percent of the population against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

Almost all of the vaccines provided to Laos have been donated by China and other countries, as well as the UN-led COVAX Facility, which distributes vaccines free to the poorest countries.

As of noon of June 4, Lao Ministry of Health said the country recorded nine new COVID-19 cases, including seven community infections in Vientiane and two imported cases, over the past 24 hours.

To date, Laos has recorded a total of 1,952 cases of COVID-19, of which 1,680 have recovered and three have died.

In Bangkok, meanwhile, there were 31 new COVID-19 fatalities and 2,631 new cases over the past 24 hours, Thai Public Health Ministry reported on June 4.

The total number of infection cases in the country has risen to 171,979 and the death toll was at 1,177 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Thailand plans to start a mass vaccination campaign on June 7, however some provinces of the country with significantly lower rates of COVID-19 may have to postpone vaccination appointments due to the fact that the country received less-than-expected amount of vaccine.
Priority will be given to provinces with a more severe COVID-19 situation and included in the Government's special policies such as tourism promotion one.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation will import a total of 11 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine from June to August.

The additional Sinovac doses will help reach the goal of obtaining 100 million doses, he added.

So far, Thailand has received 5.5 million doses of Sinovac that it purchased, and another 500,000 doses were donated by the Chinese government./.