Coronavirus jab drive to expand into 5 provinces

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
One million doses of Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Cambodia on June 8. Heng Chivoan

Prime Minister Hun Sen has approved the plans prepared by the national Covid-19 vaccination commission to expand the jab drive to five high-risk provinces after the capital and neighbouring Kandal province have been covered.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine, who also serves as head of the commission, said on June 9 that after the hotspots in Kandal province are taken care of the vaccines will be distributed to five more provinces – Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham.

She said the vaccinations will first be administered in high-risk locations with a large number of garment workers.

“We are now waiting for the vaccines to arrive and then we will act on the plans [approved] by the prime minister,” she said.

Vandine called on the residents of the provinces that have not been vaccinated yet to be patient and wait for their turn.

She said the vaccinations will gradually be extended throughout the nation as part of the government’s “blossoming strategy” which begins in Phnom Penh before expanding to other high-risk areas and hotspots in the provinces in order of priority.

The vaccinations for Phnom Penh residents are scheduled to be completed at the latest in July, with the last three districts out of 14 – namely Daun Penh, Praek Phnov and Chroy Changvar – kicking off their campaigns on June 10.

“Kandal province’s Takhmao town will start vaccinations on June 10 using the additional vaccines we received from China on June 8,” Vandine said at a handover ceremony for donated medical equipment.

Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn said during a meeting at the provincial administration hall on June 8 that his province will launch a large-scale vaccination drive for the general public and garment workers in Takhmao town and 10 other districts.

Sophorn told his officials to begin set-up for the vaccination sites and to produce invitation cards for people to get inoculated by appointment.

He said the authorities have to continue to effectively maintain security and public order when the vaccinations are under way. He told them to prepare accommodations and meals for volunteer medical staff and to especially look out for their wellbeing while also guarding the medical materials and equipment.

“During the vaccination drive for the 10 districts and Takmao in the coming days, the provincial administration will bring in 1,800 medical workers to make the vaccinations go quickly and smoothly across the province,” he said.

As of June 8, Cambodia has inoculated 2.7 million people, or 27.7 per cent of the planned 10 million.

Separately, another 4.5 million doses of vaccines that Cambodia purchased from Chinese companies will touch down in Phnom Penh this month, according to a press statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on June 8.

The ministry said that during bilateral talks between foreign minister Prak Sokhonn and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on June 8, mention was made by Yi of China’s commitment to donating more vaccines to Cambodia.

“To continue to help Cambodia in the fight against Covid-19, the Chinese government will donate 500,000 doses of vaccines and another 4.5 million [purchased] doses will be shipped to Cambodia in the month of June,” the press statement said.

The ministry also noted that the administration of Chongqing city – where the two foreign ministers met while attending a weekend of dual-summits being hosted there – had donated medical materials worth $172,000 to Cambodia.

The Kingdom has obtained more than seven million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to date.