VIENTIANE, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Over 50 percent of Laotians have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines, the Lao Ministry of Health said on Monday.
According to a report released by the Center of Information and Education for Heath under the Lao Ministry of Health, 3,692,533 people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines, accounting for 50.32 percent of Laos' total population, and 3,077,625 people have been fully vaccinated, or 41.94 percent of the population.
According to an order issued on Nov. 10 by Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, authorities have been instructed to undertake data collection around the country to determine the number of children aged 12 to 17.
The notice said health personnel will begin vaccinating children this month, with the hope of reopening schools in the near future.
Meanwhile, vaccinations continued for those above the age of 18, with the aim of reopening the country and adjusting to the "new normal," according to the notice.
The Lao government plans to vaccinate more than 70 percent of the country's adult population by the end of 2021, and over 80 percent by the end of 2022.
China has provided Laos with another shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, as 1.9 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines arrived at the Wattay International Airport in the Lao capital Vientiane on Nov. 17.
Lao Prime Minister Phankham formally received the vaccines from Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong.
China has donated the most vaccines to Laos since the pandemic began, bringing the total number of donated doses to over 6 million, said the prime minister.
"The vaccines and vaccination equipment were provided as part of Chinese assistance to Laos to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reach its goal of vaccinating over 50 percent of the population by the end of the year," he added.
As of Monday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Laos reached 63,159 with 133 deaths.
Laos reported its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 23 last year.