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Top health official worried over low vaccination rate for three-plus doses

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People get booster shots at Phnom Penh Referral Hospital in Prampi Makara district on June 9. Heng Chivoan

Top health official worried over low vaccination rate for three-plus doses

A senior Ministry of Health official expressed concern that people are less interested now in getting Covid-19 booster shots after the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia improved considerably in recent months.

Or Vandine, head of the National Covid-19 vaccination committee, said timely Covid-19 vaccinations had enabled Cambodia to fully reopen and the people had benefited greatly from the vaccinations.

She added that the vaccination rates for the campaign administering the first two doses had hit the target, but the number of people receiving third and fourth doses was relatively small.

“Actually, our worry exists – and it lies with people’s awareness – and especially I would like to inform our people not to believe the reckless incitements of the anti-vaccine people who do not understand medical science and keep raising other issues and inventing stories that have no clear basis in fact,” she said.

She said Covid-19 is still circulating in the world and in neighbouring countries, which were still detecting a lot of cases, which is why Prime Minister Hun Sen has renewed his calls for people to protect themselves against the virus by getting booster shots when it is their turn.

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan, while visiting vaccination sites with Vandine in Kampong Thom province on June 14, said she was happy when no new Covid-19 cases had been reported.

Li added that this does not mean there is no longer any challenge as the world still has to deal with the pandemic.

“Let me be clear: All registered Covid-19 vaccines are effective. However, the vaccines alone will not make us successful. Success also requires the participation of all communities, with everybody getting vaccinated against Covid-19,” she said.

According to the ministry, as of June 14 Cambodia had vaccinated 94.13 per cent of the estimated population of 16 million. Over nine million people have received their third doses and 2.6 million have received their fourth, while nearly 150,000 people have received their fifth.

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