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Military’s Covid booster drive in capital likely over in 2 weeks

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People line up for booster jabs from the RCAF at Stung Meanchey School in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. Heng Chivoan

Military’s Covid booster drive in capital likely over in 2 weeks

The Covid-19 booster campaign overseen by the military across six districts and 39 garment factories in Phnom Penh will be completed in two weeks, according to Ith Sarath, Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Joint Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

Sarath, who heads up the military’s vaccination efforts, was on hand to supervise the vaccinations taking place at the Top Summit Garment factory in Kamboul district on October 18.

“The total population that we will administer booster shots to is 1.2 million people. In the past seven days, we’ve vaccinated over 310,000, or more than 30 per cent of that population. We hope that our job giving out booster shots will be finished in two weeks from now,” he said.

The military is in charge of vaccinating six districts in Phnom Penh: Kamboul, Dangkor, Meanchey, Por Sen Chey, Tuol Kork and Russey Keo.

Booster vaccinations started on October 11 for Phnom Penh and in some provinces as the government looks to bolster the population’s immunity past the standard two-dose regimen in response to the spread of the more virulent and deadly Delta variant.

Sarath said there are 39 factories in the six districts they are managing, but so far only workers at nine of the factories have been vaccinated.

“We have been cooperating with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to provide vaccinations for workers at these factories. Once we are done with them, we will start vaccinations for workers in eight other provinces,” he said.

The eight provinces, he said, are Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey.

Sarath said the military planned to begin booster vaccinations in Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk on November 2.

“Our planning is complete and our forces are ready for the mission. No problem at all,” he said.

He also called on all the capital residents, especially those from the areas that he is responsible for, to hurry and get their booster shot.

“I appeal to our brother and sisters who have not received the booster shot to spare some time and come to get this jab while we are still in Phnom Penh,” he said.

Ea Sokly, head of administration at the Top Summit Garment factory, said her factory appreciated the vaccination drive coming to them and making things so convenient and she urged all workers to get their boosters in the interests of safeguarding their own health.

“Our workers are happy that the vaccination working team comes to our factory directly. It’s easy for us because we don’t need to go far for the jab. They can also take a day off when they want to get vaccinated,” she said.

According to the Ministry of Health’s report, over 1.43 million people had received their third dose as of October 17.

Nationwide, more than 12 million people aged 6 and up have been vaccinated with their second dose, accounting for 84.96 per cent of Cambodia’s population of around 16 million.

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