Vientiane, 26 February 2024 – The Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) has received over 650,000 doses of measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to help protect against and prevent the spread of the two illnesses, as part of Gavi’s support to the country’s routine immunization efforts.

The donation by Gavi, targeting over 600,000 children aged under five, comes at a time when measles cases are on the rise globally due to low vaccination rates among children from hard-to-reach communities who face multiple deprivations and vulnerabilities.

Beginning in mid-May, the MR vaccine will be administered to children free of charge by the Lao PDR Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other development partners.

“The Government of Lao PDR highly values this kind support from Gavi. The donated vaccines will help save children’s lives,” said Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Ministry of Health. “In the post-COVID-19 landscape, it is vital that we focus on improving rates of routine immunization to ensure that all children in Lao PDR are healthy and protected against deadly diseases,” he added. Dr Phonepaseuth also acknowledged the valuable support of partners like UNICEF and WHO, among others, to Lao PDR’s routine immunization programme and services.

Nadia Lasri, Senior Country Manager and Coordinator of Gavi support in Lao PDR, said: “Gavi support to conduct this nationwide measles-rubella preventive vaccination campaign is supplementary to our long-standing assistance to the Government of Lao PDR to strengthen its routine immunization programme. It is crucial for safeguarding children’s health, especially in hard-to-reach communities.”

The UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, Dr Pia Rebello Britto, also reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to the rights of children in Lao PDR, including access to immunization. She praised the commitment and dedication of health care workers and village health volunteers across the country. “While we have collectively made progress in streamlining immunization services in Lao, the country’s children face yet another threat from two vaccine-preventable diseases: measles and rubella, which is reason for the upcoming nationwide vaccination campaign.” She also urged parents and caregivers to take their children to the nearest vaccination centre to receive these life-saving vaccines.

“Measles and rubella are devastating diseases. Recent measles outbreaks in other countries have seen unvaccinated children die in tragic numbers. Catching rubella during pregnancy can cause the loss of the child or lead to a child born with lifelong disabilities. Vaccination is one of the most effective ways of improving the health and well-being of children and their families, and the WHO, alongside our partners, is proud to be supporting the Lao government vaccination efforts, including with the new measles and rubella vaccine donation,” said WHO Representative to Lao PDR, Dr Ying-Ru Lo.

All vaccines in Lao PDR have been approved by WHO and the Ministry of Health, and are proven safe and effective in protecting children from severe illnesses and life-threatening diseases.


Simon Nazer, UNICEF Lao PDR
Chief of Communication
+856 2055519681

Tabongphet Phouthavong, UNICEF Lao PDR
Communication Specialist
+856 2096888890

Eunice Kilonzo-Muraya, Gavi
+41 76 292 44 52

Meg Sharafudeen, Gavi
+41 79 711 55 54



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