Another 324,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines provided to Cambodia through Covax – a global initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines – arrived in the country on November 15.

Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath noted while receiving the vaccines at Phnom Penh International Airport that Cambodia has received more than 2.5 million doses out of a total of 6.6 million through the initiative, with the rest expected to arrive next year.

“We are not lacking vaccines to administer to our people. So far we have received over 38 million doses of vaccines. On November 17, another two million vaccine doses donated by China will arrive. We have a lot of vaccines,” she said.

Australia has also pledged over two million vaccine doses. Sambath said the Australia-donated jabs will probably arrive in Cambodia in December or early 2022.

“For the vaccines that we have now, we will use them for booster shots for everyone. The government is looking into the possibility of vaccinating young children as well. The vaccines will not expire soon,” she said.

World Health Organisation representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said at the vaccine handover ceremony that now is the appropriate time for Cambodia to reopen its socio-economic activities following the Kingdom’s successful efforts to control the pandemic.

“Vaccines play an important role to reduce the severity of the disease, hospitalisations, deaths and rate of transmission. But vaccines alone will not completely solve the problem. Therefore, every individual has to join hands to ensure the safety of the society as a whole,” she said.

As of November 14, over 14 million people, or 88.5 per cent of Cambodia’s total population of around 16 million, have been vaccinated with at least one shot.