Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng requested that municipal and provincial governors nationwide strengthen their education campaigns and further promote the Covid-19 vaccines to all those eligible to receive them.
Bun Heng also decried recent incidents of what he felt amounted to negligence in implementing preventive measures in some provinces, purportedly leading to a jump in transmissions in those places.
Bun Heng said in a letter sent to all governors on October 4 that in the past the work to prevent the spread of Covid-19 had achieved results that Cambodia could take pride in and that the vaccinations are also going well and should reach all of the projected goals.
"At the same time, we also see that negligence by some officials in implementing measures to prevent the transmission of the virus has led to a resurgence of Covid-19 in some provinces, including cases of severe illness and some deaths among those who had been unvaccinated,” he said.
"I would like to ask [all stakeholders] to continue to pay close attention to the implementation of the joint national campaign to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 and to try and convince more of the people within their territorial jurisdictions to be vaccinated against Covid-19,” he said.
The minister added that the capital and 24 provincial governors and their administrations must educate the public and disseminate information on vaccinations and encourage everyone medically eligible over the age of 6 to get vaccinated without delay in order to bring herd immunity to Cambodia or at least to broadly ensure that every person in the Kingdom is given their best shot at survival and a happy outcome should they become infected.
Bun Heng also requested that the community keep track of their unvaccinated people and examine the specific reasons as to why they say they could not be vaccinated. Where appropriate, he said officials should refer them to another physician for a second opinion on the matter if they are agreeable to the discussion in case their regular doctor has views outside the mainstream on the topic.
The important thing, he added, was to find appropriate solutions to support all people to get Covid-19 vaccinated without discrimination – or exceptions – aside from those that are deemed medically necessary.
"Care must be taken to provide appropriate support to help vulnerable people such as the chronically ill, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled, the poor and remote communities so that they can all receive the Covid-19 vaccines," he said.
At the same time, he also called for an aggressive campaign that would widely disseminate the arguments supporting the government’s position on the subject – which is also the position held by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation.
This vaccines advertising blitz, he continued, should hit every community at the local level on up and use posters, pamphlets, TV, radio and social media to drive the message home: "Vaccines are safe, effective and available to you today for free without an appointment should you head to one of the designated district referral hospital locations and inquire about it with their staff."
"Nearly everyone who is landing in the hospital or dying from Covid-19 these days is an unvaccinated person and overwhelmingly so for all nations with a high rate of vaccinations around the world."
"Breakthrough infections are possible with the Delta variant, but breakthrough deaths and illnesses serious enough to require life-saving interventions or assisted respiration on mechanical ventilators are extremely rare."
The governors are instructed to take measures to educate, disseminate and regularly monitor the implementation of health measures in various locations, especially in high-risk locations such as markets, towns, restaurants, food stalls, supermarkets, banks and other businesses.
"All those seated on the board of governors shall effectively implement the education of the people in accordance with the guidance offered by Prime Minister Hun Sen on the three do’s and three don’ts and all of these safety measures must be adhered to even among those already vaccinated,” the guidelines said.