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Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

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People queue to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Phnom Penh's Por Sen Chey on June 1. Heng Chivoan

Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence.

The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham and Svay Rieng, according to Ith Sarath, Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Joint Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) who heads the military’s vaccination campaign.

Sarath said during a review meeting of the vaccination drive across the six former red zone districts of Phnom Penh that the provinces being targeted had a population of more than 1.2 million people between them. Of the number, he expects that roughly 839,294 people will be vaccinated by the army and another 400,727 by the health ministry.

Defence minister Tea Banh also told reporters following the meeting that the next phase of the vaccination campaign would kick off on June 21 in Preah Sihanouk province.

“We are preparing to administer vaccinations in the target provinces according to the Covid-19 vaccination commission,” he said, adding that RCAF had successfully inoculated a great many people in a short period in the six districts in Phnom Penh.

“The fight against Covid-19 is a new experience [for the military]. It takes place on a shapeless and shadeless battlefield that has taught us some necessary lessons,” Tea Banh said.

As of June 15, Cambodia had inoculated more than three million people.

Hun Sen took note of the three-millionth person to be vaccinated in a Facebook post on the night of June 14, identifying her as Sum Sam Oeun, a 48-year-old widow residing in Chey Chumneas Hospital in Kandal province.

Like the one-millionth and two-millionth vaccines, Sam Oeun will receive 10 million riel as a reward.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine – who also heads the Covid-19 vaccination commission – will deliver the money to her.

“We have reached a significant milestone with 30 per cent of the targeted 10 million vaccinated. This is a great achievement towards our goal,” said the prime minister.

By the end of June, Cambodia will have seen another 4.5 million doses of vaccines arriving in the country, keeping the nation on track to reach its goal of 10 million people vaccinated either later this year or early next year.

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