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Another million Sinovac vaccines arrive as capital ramps up shots

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Sinovac vaccines touch down at Phnom Penh International Airport on May 23. Heng Chivoan

Another million Sinovac vaccines arrive as capital ramps up shots

The Covid-19 vaccination sub-commission for Phnom Penh will begin its campaign for people in three more districts on May 25 as another one million doses of the Sinovac vaccines touched down in Phnom Penh on May 23.

In a notice on May 23, municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the vaccination drive in Chamkarmon, Prampi Makara and Chbar Ampov districts – added together a total of 21 communes – will run through June 7 for first doses.

The second doses, the notice said, will be administered from June 8 to June 21 at the invitation of local authorities.

“For anyone who has health problems such as fever, coughing, sneezing, chills, shortness of breath or other symptoms, they must be tested for Covid-19 first in order to avoid transmission of the virus to health workers or other people being vaccinated,” it said.

The vaccination programme, administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence, has already been underway in eight of the capital’s 14 districts.

As of May 22, more than 760,000 people had been vaccinated against Covid-19 through the military’s vaccination campaign in the capital, according to the defence ministry.

On May 23, one million doses of the Sinovac vaccines arrived in Phnom Penh from China.

“This is the fifth batch that the Cambodian government has purchased from Sinovac . . . The government is carrying out its vaccination strategy as quickly as possible,” Prime Minister Hun Sen posted on Facebook.

Since February 10, he said Cambodia had vaccinated more than two million people. The country seeks to procure more than 20 million doses to inoculate more than 10 million people in order for the country to achieve “herd immunity”.

The government will succeed in combating Covid-19 and economic improvement will result in the near future, he said.

Health ministry secretary of state York Sambath, speaking at the Phnom Penh International Airport where she was on hand to receive the latest vaccines shipment, said Cambodia had placed an order for an additional 1.5 million doses of vaccines from Sinovac and that the company was preparing to deliver them to Cambodia.

She said the government is also working with partner organisations to acquire vaccines donated through the WHO’s Covax initiative.

“The health ministry has sent a letter to the US embassy [requesting vaccines assistance] and the embassy side responded formally to the ministry saying that they will strive to coordinate it. We are hopeful that [US-donated] vaccines will be delivered, but we do not yet know for sure when they will come,” she said.

Since February, Cambodia has obtained more than six million doses of vaccines in total through purchases and donations from China, as well as through the Covax initiative.

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