Lao PDR immunizes 1.5 million children against Japanese encephalitis

Lao PDR immunizes 1.5 million children against Japanese encephalitis | Courtesy of
Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is now the first country to implement Gavi support and vaccinate 1.5 million children living in its capital, Vientiane, against Japanese encephalitis.

The Vaccine Alliance agreement allows Lao PDR to immunize against Japanese encephalitis throughout the nation. Gavi has agreed to financially support the initial doses of the vaccine, and officials say the first group of 1.5 million immunized children between the ages of 1 and 15 is just the start.

Japanese encephalitis is spread through mosquitoes. After contracting the illness, people can become severely disabled and even die.

“Japanese encephalitis takes a terrible toll on its victims,” Anuradha Gupta, a representative of the World Health Organization in Lao PDR, said. “It has a devastating impact on families who are left helpless as their children often die or are left severely disabled and unable to care for themselves. It is encouraging to see that Lao PDR is taking positive steps to protect its children from the dreadful consequences of (Japanese encephalitis)  and I am pleased that Gavi is able to offer its support.”

Beginning in 2016, national financing will enable Lao PDR to make the vaccine part of its routine immunization schedule. After 2016, all children who are 9 months old in Lao PDR will receive the Japanese encephalitis vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.

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