Over 40,700 people in Laos receive COVID-19 jabs hinh anh 1Health workers take care of a COVID-19 patient in Vientiane, Laos (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – More than 40,700 people in Laos received the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine as of March 15, the Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on March 19.

The inoculation drive prioritises people with high risks of infection, including those who are working in the frontline, health workers and staff at immigration offices and border gates.

The country is preparing for the second phase of the campaign starting from mid-March to early April, according to the Vientiane Times daily.

About 20 percent of the population, or 1.6 million people, will be vaccinated this year. The vaccine coverage is expected to reach half of Laos’ population by next year and 70 percent by 2023.

As of March 19, the Southeast Asian nation had recorded 49 cases since it detected the first COVID-19 infection last March.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told the Ministry of Health to organise a 15-day vaccination campaign using AstraZeneca vaccine for more than 50,000 people aged over 60 in all districts in Phnom Penh.

He said a shipment of Sinovac vaccine will arrive in Cambodia on March 26.

The National Trade Unions Coalition (NTUC) on March 17 sent a letter to the Ministry of Labour requesting that the government cancel the upcoming traditional Khmer New Year this year, due to fear of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of March 19, the country’s Health Ministry reported a total 1,578 COVID-19 cases, with 917 recoveries./.