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Fifth Covid vaccination drive underway as preventive step

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People get booster shots at Hope Hospital in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on June 8. Heng Chivoan

Fifth Covid vaccination drive underway as preventive step

With the global Covid-19 situation remaining uncertain, and a re-emergence of a large-scale outbreak possible, the government has identified providing a further vaccine boost to be the most effective preventative measure.

Or Vandine, Ministry of Health spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said the time was right for those who received a fourth Covid-19 jab in November or December, or January or February, to get a fifth.

Vandine confirmed that a fifth Covid-19 vaccination campaign for frontline workers and priority groups will start from June 9 throughout Cambodia to maintain strong antibodies against Covid-19.

“The fifth dose is to keep the antibodies against Covid-19 in your body strong. In the context of a subsequent transformation of the Omicron variant, there is an increasing need to maintain strong immunity in the individual and community in order to maintain the sustainability of the country and prevent serious outbreaks and further deaths from Covid-19,” she said.

Vandine said subsequent Covid-19 vaccine booster over the following years is also under consideration as an individual’s immunity sharply reduces over time.

“A fifth dose is appropriate at a time when we need to apply a preventive approach rather than treatment, with a combination of other preventive measures for everyone’s good health,” she said.

Meas Vongsa, chief of staff at the General Secretariat of the Ministry of National Defence, said medics would provide a fifth Covid-19 vaccination to soldiers and their families on June 13-15 in collaboration with Volunteer Doctors Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh.

Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn also announced the start of a campaign from June 9.

“The sub-commission for Covid-19 vaccination in Kandal province will start administering a fifth vaccination against Covid-19 to officials and priority groups from 8am to 5pm,” Sophorn said.

The provincial administration confirmed that for frontline public and private health officials, civil servants, provincial, town, district and commune administration employees, contract officials and hospital staff across the province, as well as people over the age of 60, the campaign will start on June 9.

For people aged 12 or older with a weak immune system, vaccinations will start from June 20.

Kampong Cham provincial governor Un Chanda also announced on June 7 a fifth Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which will start from June 9 at provincial and district referral hospitals and health centres.

“People who go to get the vaccine, please adhere to the health ministry’s guidance including the three dos and three don’ts’ to prevent Covid-19 transmission into the community,” he said.

According to the health ministry, the Covid-19 vaccination rate in Cambodia as of June 7 was 94.05 per cent of the Kingdom’s estimated total population of 16 million. More than nine million people have received a third dose and 2.5 million have gotten their fourth.

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