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Military set to roll out booster jab programme

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People get a Pfizer vaccine booster shot in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

Military set to roll out booster jab programme

A senior military official has announced the launch of a 10-day Covid-19 vaccination campaign to begin on April 20, with teams from the Ministry of National Defence administering booster shots in Phnom Penh and several neighbouring provinces.

Ith Sarath – Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Chief of Joint Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) who oversees the military’s vaccination efforts – led a virtual meeting of the campaign on April 18.

He announced the campaign’s goals to administer booster shots to people in the capital and the provinces of Kandal, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Cham.

After the meeting, the RCAF’s Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Pov Phari convened an in-person meeting with officials.

“We are focused mainly on the work of the campaign this time. It is a special and fast-paced campaign,” Phari said of the initiative running from April 20-30.

He added that the main purposes of the campaign were to get people vaccinated as well as identify cases of Covid-19.

“We have to transport, stock and use vaccines well and on a regular basis, as well as work hard to vaccinate people so that the vaccines will not go to waste. We also have to set up mobile vaccination sites and speed up daily vaccinations as much as possible,” he said.

The resumption of the campaign came after the Khmer New Year holiday, during which Prime Minister Hun Sen recommended that Covid-19 vaccination sites be set up on pagoda grounds and at resorts.

Or Vandine, Ministry of Health secretary of state and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, told The Post that there would be “no pause” in the vaccination process during the celebrations. She said it was important that every eligible member of the public receive their boosters.

She said on April 18 that it was too early to be able to fully assess the situation of infection rates.

“Let’s wait and see until the end of April – just in case Covid-19 infections break out in a specific area. We should look at the responsibility and decision of each individual and their family members in implementing Covid-19 preventive measures,” she said.

She added that individuals’ responsibilities at this time were to determine the exposure of Covid-19 in each family. If anyone suspects they have the virus, they are urged to take a rapid test or go to a nearby public hospital, she said.

“If anyone gets a positive result and exhibit mild symptoms, they must self-isolate to prevent [the virus] from spreading to their family members and others. They should stay at home caring for – and treating – their household members under guidelines of the health ministry.

“If the symptoms get progressively worse, please hurry and seek treatment at a state hospital. Do not stay at home. You may lose your life,” she said.

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