People in Rural Areas Receive Vaccination Against COVID-19

Khammoune Province -- Between 15 November to 8 December 2021, the IOM mission in Lao People's Democratic Republic, in collaboration with healthcare workers, provided the first batch of onsite COVID-19 vaccination service to people in rural areas of Yommalath District, Khammoune Province.

With a goal to achieve a 50 per cent COVID-19 vaccination rate by the end of 2021 as per the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) and country re-opening scheme, IOM is supporting district authorities in Phongsaly, Houanphan, Khammouan provinces to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable populations in rural area under mobile vaccination clinic activities funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

SDC has contributed to IOM's global COVID-19 Strategic Response and Recovery Plan promoting equitable access to vaccines for vulnerable populations. Under IOM's Migration Framework for migrant-inclusive health care, IOM Lao PDR will continue to promote equitable access to vaccines for vulnerable populations.

Duangdee Inthachack, 20, a farmer at Nabor Village, Yommalath District, Khammouane Province, was in her seventh month of pregnancy when she received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provided by the onsite service of the Mobile Vaccine Clinic team at her district on 24 November 2021. She received an announcement from the health centre and the village head that she did not need to go to the city to get the vaccine. She decided to get vaccinated against COVID-19. "I don't know about [the benefit of] vaccination. As I saw many people get vaccinated, I considered getting vaccinated too. I believe that the vaccine will protect me from COVID-19. Today, I am very happy that I have been vaccinated against COVID-19," Duangdee said.

On 26 November 2021, Bo Kaly, 28, was in her eighth month of pregnancy with her third child when she received her first dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine. Bo said, "It was very convenient to receive the first dose of vaccine because mobile clinics delivered the vaccine to our village. Nowadays, the vaccine certificate becomes a mandatory document for traveling; we will often be asked if we are fully vaccinated and we have to show the certificate." In addition, she believes that vaccination can boost immunity against COVID-19 severe symptoms that might occur.

Grandma Hone Bounthem, 80, from Khamhea Village, Yommalath District, Khammouane Province, received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine from the Yommalath Mobile Clinic team on 26 November 2021. She expressed her gratitude toward the onsite service of the Mobile Clinic. She said, "I am happy that health workers delivered vaccines to my village. Otherwise, I would not be able to receive it as my village is far away from the district hospital, and it is difficult for me to travel because I cannot walk." In addition, her family also felt relieved from the risk of being infected if Grandma Hone Bounthem had to travel to the city.

Jom, 22, from Phonekeo Village, Yommalath District, Khammouane Province, is one of the returnee migrants at the village who were laid off by the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had returned home with support from his employer a few months ago due to the high infection rate in the capital, Vientiane, and business contraction. He received his first dose of the vaccine at Vientiane prior to his arrival at his village. He received the second dose from the Mobile Vaccine Clinic team. "Being fully vaccinated as per requirement reduces the chance of being severely affected by COVID-19. Also, travelling from place to place was not convenient as it was prior to the COVID-19 outbreak."