The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30.
They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (WHO) Covax Facility, with the remainders expected to arrive on August 2.
“With this contribution, the United States reaffirms its longstanding commitment to the public health of the Cambodian people, one that has never been clearer than during the global pandemic,” said US embassy in a press statement.
The vaccines are part of US President Joe Biden's initial pledge to distribute 80 million doses globally for the fight against Covid-19.
"The best protection against Covid-19 is to be fully vaccinated. We are proud to help Cambodia ensure the health of its citizens and keep its economic future bright with the donation of these vaccines, which adds to technical and material public health and economic assistance the United States has provided to the Kingdom throughout the pandemic,” said US ambassador to Patrick Murphy.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at Phnom Penh International Airport on July 30, Minster of Health Mam Bun Heng said Cambodia will have a total of seven million doses from Covax this year.
“On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia … I would like to extend my profound thanks to the people and government of the United States, Covax, WHO, Unicef, Gavi and others, for making it possible for Cambodia to receive vaccines on time,” Bun Heng said.
According to the embassy, the US has provided more than $11 million in supplemental assistance since the pandemic first began. The US has also committed $4 billion to Covax.
Since 1992, the US has invested more than $377 million in assistance in Cambodia to address infant and maternal mortality, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and stunting, improve hygiene and nutrition, and strengthen Cambodia's ability to finance and manage logistics and information for its health system, the embassy said.
As of July 29, Cambodia had vaccinated 71.31 per cent of its targeted adult population of 10 million people. The Kingdom is also set to kick off vaccinations for the 12-17 age group on August 1.