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GAVI, COVAX pledge Covid jabs for Kingdom

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Covid-19 vaccines provided through COVAX mechanism arrive in Phnom Penh in November. Heng Chivoan

GAVI, COVAX pledge Covid jabs for Kingdom

The GAVI Alliance and other COVAX partners have committed to continuing their support for Cambodia by supplying additional Covid-19 vaccine doses equivalent to 30 per cent of the population – up from the 20 per cent originally pledged – based on the “good results” of vaccination rates in the Kingdom, according to a senior Ministry of Health official.

Or Vandine, ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, made the remarks on April 1 after meeting with senior officials from the GAVI Alliance, COVAX and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), where they were joined by World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF representatives in Cambodia and government officials.

“The GAVI Alliance, COVAX and CHAI have expressed appreciation for the achievements Cambodia has made in Covid-19 vaccinations. They also wanted to learn lessons and draw on the experiences of our country,” she said.

She added that COVAX was “elated” at Cambodia’s vaccination results and had increased its support for the country as a result. Before vaccines were available, COVAX had pledged to provide Cambodia with vaccines for 20 per cent of its population, or 6.6 million doses. So far, Cambodia has received more than 1.8 million of the doses.

With the encouraging vaccination rates posted by the Kingdom, Vandine said, COVAX will increase its total provision to 30 per cent, with 5.5 million more doses to come “later this year or next year”.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A boy shows his Covid-19 vaccination card after getting jabbed in Siem Reap town in February. AKP

“This means that COVAX will provide more vaccines to Cambodia in the coming years should we use up the 20 per cent of vaccines that have been provided,” she said.

“The reason COVAX has bumped up their vaccine pledge to us is because of our good implementation, management and care, as well as the vaccination results they have seen.”

Cambodia has received more than 49 million doses of vaccines, through purchases and donations from other countries.

Nadia Lasri, Senior Country Representative of the GAVI Alliance and COVAX in Cambodia and Lao, commended the government and the Ministry of Health for strengthening the health system, improving health service quality and especially bringing the Covid-19 situation under control.

She added that the GAVI Alliance and COVAX aimed to continue supporting the strengthening of vaccination rates in Cambodia, especially by looking into the possibility of donating extra vaccines and coordinating vaccine donations with development partners.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 1 thanked Cambodians for their efforts to get vaccinated.

“Our citizens have received this vaccine even with intimidation from some people and groups who say that vaccination causes death or health problems and other trouble. But, actually, the vaccine improves the lives of Cambodians. We lost more than 3,000 of our people to Covid-19 back when we did not have vaccines,” he said.

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