Laos to start administering 4th COVID-19 vaccine dose


VIENTIANE – The Lao Ministry of Health plans to offer the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers and people at risk of serious illness starting in April to shield vulnerable groups from the Omicron variant.

Booster shots will be used to ramp up levels of antibodies to the virus, which will reduce the risk of severe illness, Xinhua quoted the local daily Vientiane Times report on Monday.

The fourth dose will be offered to frontline workers, people with immunodeficiency or chronic disease, and people over the age of 60, according to the report.

Additional vaccinations will also be rolled out in provinces that are heavily reliant on tourism or where infection rates are high.

The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will be offered to people who received their third dose at least three months ago.

Second in line for a fourth vaccination will be police, officials working at border crossings, diplomats, and incoming workers.

The next group to get booster shots will be people working in crowded places such as banks, tourism-related businesses and factories, followed by the general public.

People who have already contracted COVID-19 can get a first, second or third vaccination two months after recovery.

A fourth dose will be given to people who had a first booster shot more than three months ago.

The health authorities are concerned that the Omicron may spread throughout the country, especially among the unvaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds.

According to the Centre of Information and Education for Health, 75.72 per cent of the eligible population have had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 60.4 per cent have had a second dose, and 16 per cent have had three doses.