A senior Ministry of Health official said that during the three-day Khmer New Year, many travelling members of the public – both the old and the young – were vaccinated against Covid-19 at various sites set up by the authorities in pagodas and resorts.

Or Vandine, ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, told The Post on April 17 that there was no pause in the vaccination process during the celebrations. One by one, every eligible member of the public must collect their boosters.

“There was no holiday break [for medical workers]. They were there for those who were yet to get vaccinated or those that needed a booster. We will continue this important work to strengthen individual – and community – immunity,” she said.

On April 16, Prime Minister Hun Sen renewed his calls for the public to get booster shot.

“Up until now, we have administered the third dose to more than eight million people, which means there are around six million whose vaccinations are not up-to-date. Slightly more than one million people have received their fourth shot.

“Citizens, please do not think that a two-dose course of vaccines would be enough. Those who have had two should hurry to get a third, and those who have three should check to see if they are ready for their fourth,” he said.

Vandine said on an April 14 that she wished not just happiness and prosperity to the people on this occasion, but also safety.

“I hope that Covid-19 will not travel home with you from your holiday. Please take care of your elderly and loved ones,” she tweeted.

WHO representative to Cambodia Li Ailan also sent her best wishes to the public, reminding them that after this more-than-two-year pandemic, they should all be clearly aware of social distancing rules.

She said the efforts of nearly all people to get fully vaccinated and keep them up-to-date, as well the practise of the three dos and don’ts were the main reasons that the Khmer New Year could be celebrated this year. However, the pandemic is not yet over and people continue to be infected, she warned.

“The Kingdom’s vaccination campaign is really a marked and admirable achievement. The time is right to get booster shots – especially older or chronically ill family members,” she tweeted.

According to the health ministry, as of April 16 Cambodia had vaccinated 92.84 per cent of its estimated population of 16 million. Of the number, 52.74 per cent of 610,730 children aged 3 to 4 throughout the country have received the jabs while vaccinations for the other age groups have reached over 100 per cent.