The Ministry of Health and its provincial departments have identified some challenges in administering Covid-19 booster shots as the number of people who have received them at this point is much lower than that of people who got their first two doses.

Or Vandine, ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, reiterated her call for people to get the jabs at a recent press conference on planning third, fourth and fifth doses.

She said vaccinations are very important because they help reduce the chance of severe illness or death.

“Nearly 10 million people have so far received their third doses. That’s not bad, but 14.5 million people have received first and second shots. So, there’s still at least four or five million people who should be getting their third one. We have to work with the capital and provinces to make sure that those who have yet to receive the third dose come and get it,” she urged.

Vandine also encouraged municipal and provincial authorities and all Covid-19 vaccination teams to give people booster shots to increase community immunity.

She asked that the secretariat of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee discuss with medical teams from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) about looking into the possibility of where they might be able to help vaccinate.

“We want to have this vaccination campaign again and we will send these medical teams to provinces with a low rate of vaccination, because we see overall certain provinces have vaccinated over 70 per cent of residents. And provinces with vaccination rates lower than 68 per cent, we will send intervention teams to help them,” she said.

She added that authorities have to encourage people who have yet to get their booster shots to come to get them, especially fourth and fifth doses.

She emphasised that the health ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to offer fourth and fifth doses to garment workers and students.

According to the health ministry, as of August 20 Cambodia had vaccinated 94.74 per cent of the estimated population of 16 million. Nearly 10 million people have so far received their third doses, while nearly four million have received fourth doses and nearly 600,000 their fifth.

At the August 18 ceremonial handover of 300,000 Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses donated by Spain, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia could be regarded a front-line country for bringing the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

He said that even though new waves of the virus continued to occur, Cambodia managed to reopen all sectors of its society in November 2021 and was also able to maintain the new normal of socio-economic activities as well as restore and foster growth thus far.

Cambodia has not seen any deaths from Covid-19 for over four months now, but Hun Sen urged authorities to continue to work hard to control the disease and speed up booster shots for all people including children aged 3 and older to curb new variants.