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Phnom Penh authorities gear up to jab children aged 12-17

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Young students learn from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, in Koh Dach commune’s Lvea village of northeastern Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district on Monday. Hong Menea

Phnom Penh authorities gear up to jab children aged 12-17

Phnom Penh municipal authorities are getting ready to vaccinate the 12-17 age group at more than 40 locations when this latest round of vaccinations begins on Sunday.

In a telephone interview with The Post on July 26, municipal governor Khuong Sreng detailed some of the preparations being made by his administration.

“The Phnom Penh administration has organised 40 locations for vaccinations and all of the locations are either health centres or referral hospitals.

We will publicly announce which places in a few days,” Sreng said, adding that he did not know whether the national vaccination commission planned to organise additional sites at state hospitals.

Vaccinations for children aged 12-17 were announced by Prime Minister Hun Sen on July 23. The campaign will begin in Phnom Penh where 280,000 children aged 12-17 will be eligible to get jabs, including the children of foreign nationals working in Cambodia.

As of July 25, more than 6.7 million people had been vaccinated – equal to more than 67 per cent of the targeted adult population of 10 million. The number is expected to reach seven million within a few days.

Among those being vaccinated are 23 centenarians, according to the Ministry of Health.

On July 26, health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine, who is also head of the national Covid-19 vaccination commission, brought gifts for 13 of the centenarians.

“We are vaccinating people ages 12-17 in order for us to achieve herd immunity and especially to allow us to be able to reopen schools for our children,” Vandine said.

She reiterated that vaccinations for all people – including children ages 12-17 – were on voluntary basis.

“We are preparing a timeline for our people to know which group will get vaccinated and at which place. We will submit the plan to Samdech [Hun Sen] for approval before we officially announce its implementation,” Vandine said, adding that children aged 12-17 will be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccines.

Um Chantha, a 42-year-old resident of Chamkarmon district who has a 14-year-old daughter, told The Post on July 26 that she is happy to bring her daughter to get vaccinated.

“My family has five members. Three of us already got the vaccine, including me, my mother and my older daughters. I want my daughter to get vaccinated because she is at the right age for it. My son is just 8-years-old now, but I hope he will also get vaccinated one day,” she said.

Separately, Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga thanking his government for its generous donation of one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Cambodia, with the first batches of 332,000 doses already arriving here on July 23.

“This generous donation deeply reflects the long-standing positive relations and excellent level of cooperation between our two countries and significantly contributes to the implementation of Cambodia’s national vaccination programme,” Hun Sen wrote in a July 24 letter.

Hun Sen said that in addition to the vaccines donation, Japan has also rendered its support for Cambodia’s response to the pandemic through a grant of over $50 million and around $230 million in loans.

“I am extremely grateful for Japan’s continued assistance to Cambodia during this difficult time,” he said.

He said the pandemic had severely affected the socio-economic status, daily lives and livelihoods of the people. It has also disrupted physical meetings and gatherings between the two countries but it would not prevent them from moving forward.

Hun Sen noted that the fight against the disease will not end anytime soon, especially with the emergence of new variants, and that Cambodia was delighted to continue working closely with the Japanese government during and after the pandemic to promote the economic recovery plan.

Hun Sen also congratulated Japan on its efforts at hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games despite the pandemic and said that he looked forward to working with Suga at both bilateral and multilateral diplomatic forums, and especially at the Asia-Europe Meeting to be held virtually in November during Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN next year.

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