Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that China construct a factory in Cambodia for the production of vaccines for Covid-19 so that the Kingdom can have domestically produced jabs for local use and for distribution to other countries.
He made the remarks at the ceremonial handover of another two million doses of Covid-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government on November 17 at Phnom Penh International Airport.
“I spoke with Chinese ambassador Wang Wentian about the continuing supply of the vaccines and so I took the initiative to inquire about vaccines production in Cambodia,” he said.
Hun Sen added that the establishment of a Covid-19 vaccine production factory in Cambodia would enable the Kingdom to use vaccines produced domestically and to distribute them to other countries in the region through either purchases or donations.
“I hope that His Excellency Wang Wentian will forward my request to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang – and any other relevant parties – to open discussions on producing vaccines in our country because we do not know when Covid-19 will end.
“If we make it possible to do the final stage of vaccines production in Cambodia, that would give us the reassurance that we will be able to protect the lives of Cambodian people and we won’t need to get vaccines from abroad, which in turn eliminates all of this long-distance shipping,” Hun Sen said.
He delegated the task of negotiations on this matter to the Ministry of Health, which will follow up with the Chinese embassy and contact the relevant Chinese institutions to explore the possibility.
“Vaccines that originated in China have played a crucial role in Cambodia’s core strategy for managing Covid-19 and they have been key to protecting public health and saving the lives of the Cambodian people,” Hun Sen said.
Wang noted that to date China has provided nearly 39 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Cambodia, which is about 90 per cent of the total vaccines the Kingdom has received so far from various sources.
“Chinese vaccines are effective and safe and they have contributed significantly to the prevention of Covid-19 in Cambodia,” he said.
Wang added that Cambodia’s high rate of Covid-19 vaccinations was the best in the entire world presently. The rate of infections is on the decline and the number of infected people is relatively low at this point.
As of November 17, a total of 39.8 million vaccine doses have been provided by China, 8.3 million of which came in the form of donations while the other 28.5 million doses were purchased.