Vaccinations exceed target

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Residents wait for their turn to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Koh Kong province. As of June 22, Cambodia has vaccinated more than 3.5 million people out of the targeted 10 million. Koh Kong Provincial Administration

Cambodia is on track to vaccinate its four millionth person against Covid-19 within a week, or sooner if government-procured shots arrive as scheduled, according to Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine.

Vandine, who is also head of the national commission for Covid-19 vaccination programme, made the remarks on June 22 during the delivery of medical equipment to the provinces of Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri.

“In about a week, we will have four million people inoculated. Vaccines are beneficial in saving lives. Vaccinations prevent serious illness and reduce the death rate from the Covid-19 virus,” she said.

The rapid vaccination process through the commission is highly regarded by Prime Minister Hun Sen who wants to push forward and support a more effective process.

“The virus [mutates] quickly so if we do not get vaccinated quickly, it will not be compatible. So what we can do is speed up our vaccinations,” she said.

She also called on local authorities and sub-national administrations to be prepared to administer the vaccines [because] they will arrive soon.

“We have already distributed the forms to . . . sub-national administrations to determine the number of people to be vaccinated as a basis for targeted vaccinations.

“If the vaccines arrive as planned, we expect our vaccinations to be completed before the end of 2021, which will be faster than we thought in the master plan. We originally planned to complete it in mid-2022.”

On the other hand, she said although the campaign has been planned throughout the provinces, the commission will maintain a location in the capital and every province for people who have not been vaccinated to come get their shot.

“We stand by the prime minister’s policy to let anyone over the age of 18 be vaccinated. We will inoculate both Cambodians and foreigners living legally in Cambodia,” she said.

She also called on the sub-national administrations as well as the provincial health departments to be ready and adhere to the policy of speeding up the vaccinations. If there is a shortage of medical personnel in each province, they must request that the commission send volunteer youth medics to help with faster vaccinations.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia issued a statement on June 13 urging people to get vaccinated.

“Covid-19 vaccines are a very powerful tool to prevent severe disease, reduce hospitalisation and save lives. However, the vaccines alone will not end the pandemic, so we must continue to implement other public health and social measures effectively,” it said.

According to the health ministry’s report on June 22, Cambodia has vaccinated more than 3.5 million people across the country, or 35.18 per cent of its targeted 10 million.