Mobile vaccination teams deliver COVID-19 vaccines to frontline workers at Sanamxay Quarantine Center in Savannakhet Province

Mon, 8 Nov 2021 / WHO

Description

Since June this year, Savannakhet Province saw a significant increase in returning migrant workers. To accommodate this surge in Kaisone City, a common entry point for returnees from Thailand, temporary quarantine and isolation facilities were set up at sport centers, factories and schools.

As of 4 October, Savanhnakhet Province has reported a cumulative of 5,220 imported cases of the 13,800 cases reported nationwide. The majority are returnees that have travelled back to the country through Savanhnakhet’s Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge.

Quarantine & isolation facilities were set up throughout the provinces to house the returnees. An adhoc committee made up of frontline workers, police officers and military personnel were dispatched to manage these facilities. Protecting these essential workers was a priority to ensure that public health and social measures are enforced to prevent transmission among the returnees.

Chief of Kaisone City Health Office, Dr. Vilaya Sanavongxay said “In Kaisone City, we have many fixed vaccination sites and mobile teams. Our mobile team will travel to the 11 quarantine facilities and the Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge to vaccinate frontline workers from the provincial Department of Public Security, military personnel and healthcare workers that have missed previous rounds of vaccination activities.”

Vaccination activities carried out at Sanamxay Quarantine Center

In Lao PDR, vaccination of priority groups is conducted through a combination of fixed vaccination sites and mobile teams for community outreach. Fixed vaccination sites were established at the central, provincial, district, health centers, and other designated hospitals. Several temporary sites have also been established to support vaccine delivery to the priority groups and communities.

District hospitals and health centres will deliver COVID-19 vaccination by integrated outreach sessions. Dr Sanavongxay is part of a mobile team from Kaisone City Health Office tasked to deliver vaccines to quarantine centres in Savannakhet Province, including Sanamxay Quarantine Center.

Mr. Somphone is part of the priority group identified in the Ministry of Health’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for two reasons: he falls into the elderly population group (i.e. people aged 60 and above) and is a frontline worker. Frontline workers include healthcare workers, customs and immigration officers and others are among the priority groups since they faced increased risk as their work exposes them to returnees who may come from high-risk areas.

Officers from Kaisone public security complete their vaccination to protect themselves

“The vaccination in our city is going well so far, we have not encountered any issues and our front-line workers are very cooperative to protect themselves,” said Dr. Vilaya.

These COVID-19 vaccination activities in Savannakhet Province are part of the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan to vaccinate 50% of the population with all recommended doses by end of the year. As of 4 October 2021, 3,018,273 (41.13%)) of the population have been administered the first doses while a further 2,126,318 (28.98%) are fully vaccinated. Vaccination coverage at Savannakhet Province is at 20.8%.

“Safe and effective vaccines are an important tool, in combination with other public health and social measures, to protect against COVID-19. Delivering COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups like frontline workers, elderly and those with underlying health conditions can prevent severe disease and hospitalization. We must all get vaccinated as soon as it is our turn and continue to ‘do it all’ with preventive measures like wearing a mask, physically distancing, and avoiding the ‘3Cs’: closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.” said Dr. Jun Gao, WHO Lao PDR Officer-in-Charge.