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Pfizer, AstraZeneca ready for booster use: health ministry

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People waiting to receive booster shots in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district in January. Hong Menea

Pfizer, AstraZeneca ready for booster use: health ministry

Municipal and provincial health departments across the country have received AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines intended to be used for people’s third and fourth doses – as the nationwide vaccination rate hit 92.55 per cent of the population.

Or Vandine – Ministry of Health secretary of state and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee – made the announcement on March 25.

She said anti-bodies could weaken if left unattended for too long, which could make an individual more susceptible to infection by the coronavirus, especially the Omicron variant.

“In order to save lives, we ask that no one underestimate the virus, even if daily reports indicate that infections are decreasing.

“We need to be aware that the virus is still present, transmission is still taking place, and several countries around the world have recently seen the evolution of Omicron into what may become a new strain. Let’s get everyone vaccinated with the third and fourth doses. Don’t worry about our vaccine supply, we have more than enough for everyone,” she said.

The Australian government, in partnership with UNICEF, recently provided 33 freezers capable of maintaining temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius, which are necessary to safely store certain vaccines. The ministry has installed these freezers across the country.

Separately on March 26, Vandine and World Health Organisation representative to Cambodia Li Ailan inspected a vaccination centre and a primary health care clinic in Kampot province.

On that occasion, Vandine and her team met with target groups to help them develop and promote primary healthcare systems that would respond to the needs of the public and improve the quality of their lives.

“People with chronic illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, need to be vaccinated to protect themselves,” she said.

According to the ministry, as of March 26 nearly 15 million people had been vaccinated against Covid-19 – nearly eight million with their third dose and more than one million with their fourth.

Cambodia has received vaccines continuously from various countries though donation, purchase and bilateral agreements. In March alone, Cambodia is expected to receive up to seven million doses.

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