The second batch containing 609,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh in the early hours of August 2.
Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath was on hand to receive the vaccines along with US embassy officials.
The shipment was part of the 1,060,100 total doses that the US had pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led Covax Facility. The first batch of 450,500 doses arrived on July 30.
The US embassy said on July 30 that the donation of vaccines reaffirmed the US’ longstanding commitment to improving public health in Cambodia.
“The second batch of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines has arrived in Phnom Penh! This gift from the people of the United States will help protect more than one million Cambodians,” said US ambassador Patrick Murphy tweeted on August 2.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said on August 1 that the Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be used for ethnic minority groups and migrant workers. He explained that the vaccine requires just a single shot, making it easier for those target groups and the medical workers alike.
“This donation is a part of the ongoing support by the US for the Cambodian people as well as all people in the region who are struggling to get out of this pandemic,” he said in a Facebook post on August 2.
As of August 1, Cambodia had vaccinated over 7.34 million people, or 73.38 per cent of the targeted adult population of 10 million. As more vaccines arrive, Cambodia will start to administer booster doses soon to help protect against the coronavirus Delta variant.
The Kingdom also kicked off its vaccination campaign for children and adolescents aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and selected provinces on August 1. In just one day, vaccination with first doses reached 1.87 per cent of the targeted 1,966,931 in that age group.
Hun Sen decided to accelerate vaccinations for those aged 12-17 with an eye towards reopening schools in September or October, since all schools have been closed for in-person instruction since March due to the pandemic.