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Vaccines supply steady with millions more doses arriving

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Two million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport on Tuesday. Heng Chivoan

Vaccines supply steady with millions more doses arriving

Two million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines purchased from China arrived in Cambodia on August 31.

Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath said these two million jabs will be used as booster shots for frontline workers, elderly people and those at high risk of infection.

Sambath noted that the government had also purchased five million more vaccine doses from multiple sources that are expected to arrive later this month.

“The vaccination drive in Cambodia has been progressing very quickly and we are providing booster shots to our frontline forces and at-risk persons now.

“The government will complete vaccinations for the target adult population of 10 million and the 12-17 age group of nearly two million before starting booster shots for them,” she said.

Cambodia has so far received a total of 27 million vaccine doses through purchases, donations and the World Health Organisation-led (WHO) Covax Facility.

Asked whether Cambodia will start vaccinating children under the age of 12, Sambath said it was still under discussion between the health ministry, WHO, other relevant stakeholders and companies that manufacture the vaccines.

Should it be recommended that vaccinations for children take place, the government will be able to get enough vaccines and achieve herd immunity, she said.

As of August 31, more than 610,000 people had received booster shots – mostly frontline medical workers, border personnel, the elderly and immune-compromised persons.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said recently that all people who are vaccinated will be eligible to receive a third dose at some point. He said the booster shot campaign has a tentatively planned completion date of mid-2022.

The health ministry said last week that booster shots should be given between six and eight months from the date of the second dose.

However, the government has already provided third doses to frontline workers, elderly people aged 60 and over and those who have weak immune systems just four months on average after the completion of their initial vaccinations due to the spread of the more-virulent Delta variant.

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