PM: Don't use Covid vaccine as political tool

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the China’s Sinopharm vaccine. Hong Menea

Prime Minister Hun Sen has appealed to developed countries not to hoard Covid-19 vaccines or use them as a political tool.

Hun Sen made the call during the virtual 77th annual session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on April 26 under the theme “Building Back Better from Crises through Regional Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific”.

The prime minister said the disparity between developing and developed countries in access to vaccines poses risks and hinders economic recovery, noting that if that is the case only a handful of countries would achieve fast recovery while many would suffer in both the health and economic sectors.

“Cambodia would like to appeal to a number of countries not to hoard the vaccine more than needed as well as not to use the vaccine as a political tool,” Hun Sen said.

“In this context, fighting against Covid-19 and strengthening the quality and effectiveness of the health system is the utmost priority for us,” he said.

He also emphasised the importance and urgency of the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in an equitable and affordable manner, especially for developing countries.

He added that although the global economy is expected to recover this year, there is great uncertainty as Covid-19 continues to spread, especially the faster-than-expected mutations of the virus, which has disrupted economic recovery.

He continued that Cambodia believed that the fight against the virus and the post-crisis recovery requires people to urgently address regional and global challenges in a responsible manner with the spirit of unity, collaboration and mutual respect.

Cambodia has already procured more than three million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, 1.3 million of which were from China’s Sinopharm. The Kingdom also purchased two million Sinovac vaccines from China and 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, marketed as COVISHIELD, through the COVAX initiative.

As of April 26, Cambodia had vaccinated more than 1.2 million people.