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Jabs suspended during elections

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A vaccination site at Phsar Chas Market in the capital’s Daun Penh district on May 4. Heng Chivoan

Jabs suspended during elections

With the commune council elections approaching, the national Covid-19 vaccination committee announced a three-day suspension of its jab drive early next month, to enable medical staff and the public to cast their ballots on June 5.

Or Vandine, Ministry of Health spokeswoman and head of the committee, said on May 16 that the programme will be suspended for three days around the elections.

“We will suspend vaccinations across the country from June 4-6 to make it easier for the public and members of the vaccination teams to cast their ballots at the commune council elections in their respective home communes,” she said.

She added the vaccination work will resume on June 7, and the teams would be ready to begin vaccinating people immediately after the break.

According to the health ministry, as of May 17 more than 15 million people had been vaccinated against Covid-19, or about 93.81 per cent of the country’s population. This included more than 10 million people aged 18 and older; 1.8 million aged 12 to 17; 400,000 five-year-olds; and 400,000 children aged 3-4.

More than nine million people had received a third dose while two million having had a fourth.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said at a meeting with the Samdech Techo Voluntary Youth Doctor Association (TYDA) at the Chroy Changvar International Convention and Exhibition Centre recently that Cambodia would never charge for vaccines, whether it was the 10th or 20th dose.

“Some people suggested to me that the first and second doses should be free, but we should charge for the third. I responded that I would never charge for Covid-19 vaccines. I could never allow myself to profit in this way. Whether the cost is paid by the state budget or through assistance, we will continue to vaccinate people for free – and there will be no discrimination on the basis of politics, race, religion, or between urban and rural areas.

“We have to ensure that regardless of whether it is the 10th or 20th dose, we do not charge money. This is not the time for us to take money from the people – it is time to help the people,” he stressed.

The premier said Cambodia had succeeded in its battle against Covid-19, leading to full reopening of the country.

“It is not coincident that we have succeeded in overcoming Covid. This can only signal that I have never been lacking in preparing for – and reacting to – a variety of scenarios, a variety of possibilities,” he added.

Cambodia had not detected any new Covid-19 cases from May 7-18, with only eight Covid-19 patients remaining hospitalised across the country.

As of May 18, the country had tallied 136,262 cases, with 133,198 recoveries and 3,056 deaths.

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