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550K in red zones take Covid jab over 12-days

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Workers queue to get the Sinovac vaccine behind a barricade with a banner that reads ‘red zone’, in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey commune on Thursday. Heng Chivoan

550K in red zones take Covid jab over 12-days

Eighty per cent of residents in Phnom Penh's red zones have had the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with second shots set to be administered starting May 15.

Ith Sarath – Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Joint Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who oversees the vaccination campaign in the capital’s restricted zones – said military medics were accelerating the drive.

“In some districts like Kamboul and Dangkor, we have almost completed the first vaccinations with just a little left.

“But in Por Sen Chey and Meanchey districts, some communes in the red zones have a lot of factories and are home to a large number of workers, so we have not completed the vaccinations in areas such as Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey I and II communes and Por Sen Chey district’s Choam Chao I and II communes,” he said while inspecting vaccination work in Phnom Penh’s Special Economic Zone in Kamboul on May 12.

Sarath said 12 units of vaccination workers had quickly administered the process in the four districts’ red zones. The area has five large factories with 95,000 workers. Second dose vaccinations were planned to kick off on May 15, although not all people in the red zones have been vaccinated with their first shot.

A total of nearly 800,000 people in all six districts’ red zones will be vaccinated, he said. During the 12-day campaign, 550,000 people have been inoculated with their first doses. A total of 1,586,722 doses of Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines have been used in the red zones.

“We have enough vaccines to immunise everyone in the red zones. For those who are in less-stringent zones, we will start our campaigns there soon,” he said, noting that red zone residents and workers expressed happiness to have received the jabs.

Concerned about the safety of medical workers and those receiving vaccines during the campaign, he urged people to take the utmost care in the process.

“There are three reasons to be careful when getting the vaccine. Some Covid-19 positive people come to get vaccinated without knowing that they have already contracted the disease. The second reason is that some people have already gone for testing and they don’t stay in quarantine but come out to get vaccinated.

“The third reason is that some people who are positive and are waiting for medical workers to bring them to treatment facilities also turn up to get the jabs. That is really dangerous for our medical workers and for everyone else,” he said.

As of May 12, Cambodia had vaccinated nearly two million people.

Separately on May 12, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said vaccination would save lives and it was vital for all countries to immunise their citizens at the earliest convenience.

“If like me you live in a country where vaccines are available, please get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” he said on WHO's official Facebook page with a photo showing him getting the jab at the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland.

“To make vaccines available to all who need them, governments, manufacturers and other stakeholders must commit to sharing and producing more doses of Covid-19 vaccines to protect everyone. Vaccine Equity,” he said.

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