Four provinces kicked off large-scale Covid-19 vaccination campaigns on June 22 targeting around 1.2 million people, with the Ministry of National Defence administering vaccinations to 810,000 of them.

Speaking during a visit to a vaccination site in Preah Sihanouk province on June 22, Ith Sarath – Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who oversees the campaign – said the provinces being vaccinated were Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampong Speu and Takeo.

“We start vaccinating from today until June 30 to complete the first dose in all the target locations. That is our commitment, but it could possibly be a bit late due to, for example, the weather,” he said.

He said each province had already received enough doses of vaccines for the target number of people for first and second doses.

“Don’t worry about shortages of vaccines and please don’t come in large numbers to scramble for the vaccines in a disorderly manner. We have enough vaccines for our people,” Sarath said.

He added that the army is also planning to provide the shots to workers in Kampong Cham and Svay Rieng where transmission remains high.

“We will continue to the next target location in accordance with the task given by Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen, and the task from the national vaccination commission. We are ready for it,” he said.

The four provinces are the second round of locations named after Phnom Penh and some high-risk areas in Kandal province.

Takeo provincial governor Ouch Phea said personnel from the defence ministry had started vaccinations in the districts of Bati and Samrong before heading to other districts, according to the strategic plans. His province had received 400,000 doses of Sinovac for targeting civil servants, Buddhist monks, workers and people in the two districts.

In Kandal province, the provincial health department said first dose vaccinations will be completed in the next few days as 70 per cent of the target population – or the equivalent of nearly 600,000 people – have been vaccinated.

As of June 21, Cambodia had vaccinated more than 3.4 million people nationwide, equivalent to 34.16 per cent of its goal of 10 million.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine – who is also head of the national Covid-19 vaccination commission – reiterated on June 21 that all individuals should contribute to combating the novel coronavirus.

“If you fear the virus, change that fear into action by preventing Covid-19 transmission. Don’t panic and don’t collect medicines for prevention because doing so doesn’t protect you at all,” she tweeted.