Prime Minister of Laos Orders Vaccinations for Children Aged 12 to 17

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PM Phankham orders vaccination of children 12 to 17
A school girl receives HPV vaccine in Vientiane, Lao PDR (Photo: UNICEF)

The Prime Minister of Laos has ordered the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations for children aged 12 to 17 years with the aim of reopening schools.

According to an order issued yesterday by Lao Prime Minister, Dr. Phankham Viphavanh, authorities have been instructed to undertake data collection around the country to determine the number of children aged 12 to 17.

The notice states that health personnel are to begin vaccinating children this month, with the hope of reopening schools in the coming weeks.

Schools in Vientiane Capital and a number of provinces have been closed since the new wave of Covid-19 began, with students studying remotely or online.

Meanwhile, vaccinations continue for those above the age of 18, with the aim of reopening the country and adjusting to the “new normal,” PM’s order says.

The government plans to have vaccinated more than 70 percent of the adult population by the end of this year, and over 80 percent by the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is to consider a plan for reopening the country put forth by the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in coordination with the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

While the government had initially considered a gradual reopening to certain groups, such as South Korean golf tour groups, discussions continue as to how the new reopening plan will move forward.

A notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday suggests that a broad reopening would be the likely strategy, with the PM requesting an update on the readiness of tourism operators and hospitality businesses to receive guests.