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UN says Cambodia among regional leaders in giving jabs

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A boy gets vaccinated at Koh Dach Health Centre in Koh Dach commune of Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district on Sunday. Hong Menea

UN says Cambodia among regional leaders in giving jabs

The UN in Cambodia said vaccine hesitancy here is relatively low compared to other countries. The Kingdom is one of the countries with the highest percentages of Covid-19 vaccinations among its adult population in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) western-pacific region.

In a press statement released on August 3, the UN said Cambodia was also one of the first 17 countries in the world to prioritise vaccinations for teachers.

“Since the onset of large-scale community transmission of Covid-19 in February 2021, the vaccination strategy adopted was a geographically based roll-out, which prioritised vaccinations in areas and cities at highest risk for transmission, while gradually rolling out vaccinations to the rest of the country,” it said.

The UN urged Cambodia to continue community engagement and effective communications at national and local levels to reduce transmission of Covid-19 as well as counter misinformation and increase vaccine acceptance.

The press release said sustainable recovery from the pandemic requires bolstering the healthcare system and strengthening preparedness for potential future health emergencies.

“The United Nations continues to advocate that the most at-risk populations be vaccinated first and for strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure the availability of disaggregated data and analysis to support efforts aimed at identifying high risk groups and ensuring equitable vaccination,” the press statement said.

The UN said they have been helping the Kingdom with various activities and will be committed to supporting the Cambodian government’s Covid-19 response and vaccination roll-out to protect people, save lives and ensure a more resilient recovery from the pandemic.

“In this regard, the United Nations continues to encourage and support the authorities implementation of measures such as strong surveillance, strategic testing, early case detection, isolation and clinical care as well as mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing,” the statement said.

As of August 3, Cambodia’s vaccination drive has reached nearly 75 per cent of its goal of 10 million adults vaccinated.

On August 1, the Kingdom also kicked off a vaccination campaign for children aged 12-17 in the hope of reopening schools in September or October. In the first three days of the campaign, 6.31 per cent of the target population of nearly two million has been vaccinated.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on August 2 that Cambodia will continue using the vaccines approved for emergency use by WHO.

“Vaccination is still important for all individuals. When they get vaccinated against Covid-19, the vaccine is of great help. We may still be infected but our immune system is able to counter it. Although it cannot 100 per cent stop infections, it makes the virus weaker in its effect so the vaccinated patients’ illness is not very severe if they contract the virus,” she said.

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