UK donates 415,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs

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Health minister Mam Bun Heng (centre right) and UK ambassador Tina Redshaw after signing the agreement on the UK’s donation of 415,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines on Thursday. TINA REDSHAW VIA TWITTER

The UK has announced the donation of 415,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Cambodia through a bilateral agreement. The vaccines are expected to be shipped from the UK this week.

According to a press statement released by the British embassy in Cambodia on July 28, the donation is part of the 100 million doses the UK has pledged to provide for many countries around the world between now and June 2022 to help tackle Covid-19 globally.

Cambodia is among the countries that will receive the vaccines through a bilateral arrangement.

The UK also provides another five million doses to other countries this week through the World Health Organisation-lex’s Covax Facility.

“The UK has pledged to donate 100 million vaccines overseas by June 2022 – 80 million of which will go to COVAX mechanisms,” the embassy said, adding that the other 20 million doses will be provided directly to countries through bilateral agreements.

The UK is donating the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured by Oxford Biomedica in Oxford and packaged in Wrexham in North Wales.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that the UK would share 100 million vaccines over the next year, with 30 million doses due to be shipped out by the end of 2021.

This week’s deployment will help meet the urgent need for vaccines from countries around the world – including in Africa, Southeast Asia and the island nations of the Caribbean.

These regions are experiencing a high level of Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths, the embassy said.

“The UK is sending 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Cambodia as part of the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged, to get the poorest parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in a press statement.

“We’re doing this to help the most vulnerable, but also because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe,” he said.

British ambassador to Cambodia Tina Redshaw said the donated vaccines would help support communities in Cambodia with restarting businesses and restoring people’s livelihoods.

“I’m delighted the UK is fulfilling its commitment to donate vaccines across the world both bilaterally, as in this case, and through COVAX – including here in Cambodia,” she said.

The UK is the fourth country to donate Covid-19 vaccines to Cambodia after China, Japan and the US.

A shipment of 500,000 doses of US-donated Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to arrive on July 30, while another 500,000 will touch down on August 2.

Separately, the health ministry has now given permission to authorised private clinics and hospitals to vaccinate people using the vaccines acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine, who is also head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said in an announcement that private healthcare facilities that intend to carry out vaccinations will need a screening room where people are tested for Covid-19 before they are vaccinated if they exhibit any symptoms of Covid-19.

They must also have experienced medical doctors in an emergency room or intensive care unit with the ability to treat anyone who suffers an adverse reaction to the vaccines, among other requirements.

Vandine told interested private hospitals to get permission from the ministry if they want to provide private vaccination services.

In a separate letter issued on July 29, she said the ministry was also permitting qualified private companies the ability to provide vaccination services to their workers using the standard vaccines approved by WHO.

All interested companies must be registered with the ministry and follow the guidelines in place.

As of July 28, the Kingdom had vaccinated more than 70 per cent of its targeted adult population of 10 million, with the government planning to reach that goal by October. Vaccinations for children aged 12-17 will begin on August 1.