Kingdom’s booster shot campaign reaches nearly 300k

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A man gets a Pfizer vaccine booster shot on Thursday. Hean Rangsey

Nearly 300,000 people have received their fourth doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the first nine days of the vaccination campaign which started on January 14 at public hospitals and health centres in Phnom Penh, according to the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, the ministry said more than five million people have received their third doses. These booster shots, it said, are intended to strengthen immunity and prevent serious illness from highly transmissible variants such as Omicron that are able to infect even the vaccinated.

As of January 22, Cambodia had vaccinated more than 14 million people aged five and older, or 89.58 per cent of an estimated total population of 16 million.

From January 14-22, more than 280,000 people received fourth-dose vaccinations at public hospitals and health centres across the capital.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said earlier that Cambodia succeeded in its Covid-19 vaccination campaigns thanks to the country’s strong leadership and the participation of all of the people.

“[We] laid out a series of strategies to avert and curb the Covid-19 pandemic and ... also placed a top priority on vaccination plans until the daily infection rates were brought under control,” she said.

She added that the overwhelming majority people were willing to get vaccinated without having to be coerced, including ordinary people, monks, civil servants and members of the armed forces and children. Among those who volunteered for vaccination were most of the Kingdom’s population of resident foreign expats.

Peter Page is a foreign national who has been living in Cambodia since 2005. He expressed his deep gratitude to the government for vaccinating him and all other foreigners against Covid-19 free of charge and without discrimination.

Page, who lives in Kampot province, wrote an email to The Post expressing his thanks for the vaccination efforts by the government.

“I don’t know how to address my letter so that it reaches the correct people in the Cambodian government and therefore I would like to express my gratitude to Cambodia for its vaccination programme here instead,” he wrote.

“I want to thank everyone in Cambodia for the effective and life-saving Covid-19 vaccination programme. As a foreigner I’ve received two shots and a booster shot – all free of charge. I was unable to show my appreciation to the medical staff in Kampot [province] either as they were obligated to refuse any form of gifts,” he said.

Page noted that the administration of the vaccines was extremely effective, well organised and all of the medical personnel were very friendly towards him as a foreigner.

Now somewhat advanced in years, Page noted that getting vaccinated was therefore a matter of vital importance to his health as he has been living in Cambodia as a retiree since 2005.

“Cambodia, you’ve been very good to me and I hope that somehow I can pay you back,” he wrote.