Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered that national authorities establish more vaccination sites and assemble teams who can offer booster shots to those who cannot travel to the sites.

Hun Sen gave the instruction in an audio address to the nation on June 27, saying that the more than five million people who have yet to get their third dose should come forward and get them.

“All municipal and provincial administrations should identify which people have yet to get their third jab – whether they are farmers or workers and which areas most of them live in – and deploy health workers to roll out the vaccines in those locations,” he said.

The premier suggested that the national Covid-19 vaccination committee assist with planning the operation.

He made the call as he became concerned about the low number of people who had received their third dose. Their immunity was not as high as it could be, so he was fearful they may contract the virus.

“The herd immunity we all enjoy came from the success of the vaccination campaign. We have now lasted more than 50 days with no new deaths or infections, but I am concerned that our herd immunity may be weakening, as only nine million people have taken their third shot,” he said.

“I call on those who vaccinations are not up to date to come forward and get their third shot. Covid-19 may be able to invade the bodies of those who have yet to get the third dose – one that can guarantee the immunity of both the community and the individual,” he added.

Answering the call, Or Vandine, Ministry of Health spokeswoman and head of the vaccination committee, on June 28 tasked the municipal and provincial governors with setting up vaccination sites in the districts, towns, communes and villages within their purview.

“We have to mobilise people in each village and commune and arrange to deploy health workers to inoculate all of the inhabitants,” she said.

Vandine advised the municipal and provincial authorities to determine the number of people who have received their third shot, and identify those who have yet to get them.

“This report is to be sent to us by July 15. The capital and provincial administrations will plan vaccination operations based on the updated numbers. As this is an important matter, we will continue to administer the vaccinations on weekends and public holidays,” she said.

The administrations should also be preparing to establish vaccination sites at factories, schools, and among informal economic groups, like construction workers and market vendors. They should collaborate with the owners of these locations to do so.

On the morning of June 28, while celebrating the 71st anniversary of the birth of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) at its headquarters in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said the entire population must play its part in protecting themselves – and each other – from the virus. One of the best ways to do so is to make sure their vaccinations are as up to date as possible.

“In order to continue to overcome Covid-19, please pay attention to the protective measures laid out by the government, and be sure to get your next jab, whether the third, fourth or fifth,” he said.

According to the health ministry, as of June 27 Cambodia had vaccinated more than 94 per cent of its estimated population of 16 million. More than 9.4 million people had received their third dose, while over 2.8 million had taken their fourth. The fifth dose roll out had so far reached more than 270,000 people.