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Japan gives boost to Covid response in Laos

The Japanese government has confirmed that it will continue to provide a range of equipment, including vaccine freezers and refrigerators, to support Laos’ Covid vaccination programme.
The Japanese Ambassador to Laos, Mr Kenichi Kobayashi, made the pledge on Tuesday when handing over cold chain equipment and more than 320,200 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine donated by Japan to the Ministry of Health.

“The cold chain equipment forms a vital part of the vaccine rollout, and I am therefore delighted that we are able to provide a range of equipment, including vaccine freezers and refrigerators to Laos to support and strengthen the vaccination system today,” Mr Kobayashi said.
“Furthermore, we are proud to have recently supported Laos with 320,200 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, which will help protect high-risk groups in the country.”
“It is my strong hope that these vaccines, together with this cold chain equipment, will go a long way towards helping Laos to be able to vaccinate the population,” he added.
“This latest support from the government of Japan is symbolic of our goodwill to the people of Laos during this challenging time,” the ambassador said.
Deputy Minister of Health Dr Phayvanh Keopaseuth said “I would like to thank the government of Japan for this generous contribution of cold chain equipment. By strengthening Laos’ cold chain capacity and ability to store more Covid-19 vaccine, we will be able to reach even more people with life-saving vaccines during the pandemic.”
The cold chain equipment is part of a project implemented by the government of Japan to strengthen the cold chain system in Laos, for which US$1.1 million has been allotted.
UNICEF Representative a.i. to Laos, Ms Leotes Helin, said that in addition to supporting the Lao government with Covid vaccines, UNICEF is proud to assist the Ministry of Health to upgrade its cold chain capacity and provide technical guidance in this regard.
“We will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and our partners to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for the Lao people,” she said.
The vaccines were donated by Japan through the COVAX Facility - a partnership co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation, with UNICEF as a key delivery partner.
The equipment provided included 208 vaccine and icepack freezers, 480 refrigerators, spare parts for cold chain equipment, 500 vaccine carriers, 100 cold boxes and 10,000 ice packs.
These items have a total combined value of US$913,141 and are a contribution made through UNICEF funded by the government of Japan.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update December 29, 2021)


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