The Japanese government pledged to provide approximately one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Cambodia, with their shipment expected soon.
In an announcement on July 13, Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami said the vaccines are provided through the World Health Organisation-led Covax facility.
He said the donation was being made as an expression of friendship between Japan and Cambodia after assessing the current state of the pandemic in the country.
“I hope that this donation will support the Royal Government of Cambodia’s efforts to defeat Covid-19 as well as help to relieve some of the anxieties of the Cambodian people. In the global fight against Covid-19, Japan will continue to cooperate and work together with our important friend, Cambodia,” the ambassador said.
Mikami said the vaccines – which Japan is licensed to produce – will be shipped to Phnom Penh as soon as the logistical arrangements by the Covax facility are completed.
“I sincerely hope that the situation will improve as soon as possible and that the exchanges between our two countries and across the world will resume,” he said.
The embassy’s announcement noted that due to the unprecedented spread of this infectious disease that the world is currently experiencing, vaccinations and a strengthening of its medical system are the most important issues for the Cambodian government and its people.
To date Japan has provided a total of more than $50 million worth of assistance to Cambodia directly related to its fight against Covid-19, it said.
The $50 million figure includes the donation of medical equipment, renovation of hospitals, support for infection prevention measures at the borders through international organisations and equipment to properly transport and store vaccines.
“We have also provided a loan of approximately $227 million, which is being used to provide cash benefits to people affected by Covid-19 and to strengthen the medical care provision system,” Mikami said.
From February 7 to July 10, Cambodia has received 17 million vaccines, most of them from China either through purchases or donations.
“The vaccines are a strategy for Cambodia in the fight to protect people’s health against Covid-19. These vaccines will help Cambodia achieve the goals laid out in the national vaccination plan for the people,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said on July 10.
July 13 saw Cambodia reach the milestone of five million people vaccinated out of the targeted 10 million.
“Congratulations to brother Nob Mean, 70, a farmer of Sen Sam village in O’Svay commune in Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district who, on the morning of July 13, 2021, was the five millionth person vaccinated in Cambodia,” Hun Sen said in a Facebook post.
He said Or Vandine, the head of the Covid-19 vaccination commission, would deliver 10 million riel ($2,500) and other donations to him at his home in Oddar Meanchey.
Separately on July 13, the Chinese embassy in Cambodia announced that the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines were successfully approved for use by the WHO’s Covax facility.
It said Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – the institutional co-leader of the Covax facility – has signed pre-order agreements with the China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation and with Sinovac Biotech, the producers of the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines respectively.
“The Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines . . . can be supplied to Covax for virus prevention in developing countries from the month of July onwards,” the embassy said.
According to the signed agreements, it noted, the two Chinese companies will supply 110 million doses of vaccines to Covax by the end of October and continue supplying vaccines going forward from there.