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100,000 given fifth jabs over first three days of campaign

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A woman gets her fifth jab at a hospital in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on June 9. Heng Chivoan

100,000 given fifth jabs over first three days of campaign

Three days into the fifth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which began on June 9, nearly 100,000 people from priority and target groups have been vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health reported that from June 9-11, a total of 93,306 people had received their fifth dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines donated by Italy.

Or Vandine, head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said on the first day of the campaign that the fifth dose would most likely not be the last one administered because the jabs do not provide long-lasting immunity.

She explained that the Omicron variant has so far mutated into six or seven different forms and still has the ability to keep mutating. Scientists have confirmed that it spreads faster and the human immune system provides a weaker defence against it than it did before.

“That’s why the World Health Organisation (WHO) advised all countries that third and fourth doses could be given three months apart. So, we’re giving the fifth dose three months after the fourth to ensure the sustainability of immune response to counter the coronavirus,” Vandine said.

Ung Ratana, director of the Ratanakkiri provincial health department, told The Post on June 12 that the province had given fifth doses to more than 10,000 frontline officials and more than 3,000 other people in the first three days.

He said he did not know how many days the vaccinations will continue, but medical staff will continue to inoculate village chiefs and their deputies for some time.

“We cannot yet determine when we will finish, but we have given 60 to 70 per cent of third and fourth doses. Our people in the province aged 18 and older have already been vaccinated with at least two doses,” he said.

Despite Cambodia not detecting any new Covid-19 cases recently, people are still protecting themselves against it and the majority of those in the province are still wearing masks and maintaining the health preventive measures, Ratana noted.

According to the ministry report, as of June 11 Cambodia had vaccinated 94.10 per cent of the country’s estimated population of 16 million. More than nine million people have received their third dose and more than 2.6 million have gotten their fourth.

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