As the community outbreak of Covid-19 rages on with 1,807 infections and 26 deaths recorded on June 6-8, the government is planning to vaccinate high-risk provinces after Phnom Penh’s vaccination campaign is complete.
The vaccination drive for the capital’s six former red zone districts which began in early May has now ended with a final round of first doses administered on June 7. It is set to expand as part of the government’s “blossoming strategy”, which kicks off in the capital and neighbouring Kandal province before expanding to other parts of the country in order of priority.
In a bid to accelerate the campaign, the government has purchased another eight million doses from two Chinese pharmaceutical companies – four million from Sinovac and four million from Sinopharm.
These are in addition to the one million doses that touched down in Phnom Penh on June 8 – 500,000 doses of Sinovac and 500,000 doses of Sinopharm with the former purchased and the latter donated by China, according to Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath.
Prime Minister Hun Sen noted the arrival in a Facebook post on June 8. “The Covid-19 vaccines that arrived in Cambodia today included the sixth batch of the Sinovac vaccine that the government had purchased from the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech.
“The government has formulated a vaccination plan for people from the age of 18 on up, or about 13 million people who will need about 26 million doses of the vaccine,” he said.
Hun Sen noted that this month 4.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines are expected to arrive, which should put Cambodia on pace to achieve its goal.
The government has also been searching for other sources of vaccines while providing several different jabs to citizens thus far. From February 7 to June 8, Cambodia has received more than seven million doses of Covid-19 vaccines in total.
The prime minister said another one million doses will arrive on June 12, followed by one million more doses that are scheduled to arrive in Cambodia on June 19.
“Our country is poor, but we are not poor at preparing plans to protect the lives of our people,” he said.
General Ith Sarath, deputy commander-in-chief and Joint Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who is in charge of the vaccination campaign in Phnom Penh, said on June 7 that the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the former red zones across six districts – Meanchey, Por Sen Chey, Dangkor, Kamboul, Toul Kork and Russey Keo – had been successful at administering the first dose to almost one million people.
Second doses are already in progress and will be finished within the next few days.
“The second doses are expected to wrap-up on June 9, with about 240,000 remaining currently,” he said.
A total of 993,902 people in the former red zones were vaccinated with their first doses, while 753,629 people have been vaccinated with their second doses.
As of June 7, Cambodia has inoculated nearly 2.8 million people, according to the health ministry.