The World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to laud Cambodia for its vaccination accomplishments as the Kingdom approaches its goal of roughly 12 million people aged 12 and over vaccinated.
WHO noted that the government’s vaccination drive has reached most parts of the country, with people from all walks of life including centenarians and those living in remote areas having received the jabs.
Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine, who is also head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said last week that nearly 100 centenarians had voluntarily received vaccinations throughout the nation.
As of August 31, Cambodia had vaccinated 92.49 per cent of the target adult population of 10 million and 78.96 percent of the 12-17 age group of nearly two million.
The two age groups combined put the Kingdom’s overall progress at 67.51 per cent of the total population of 16 million.
Takeshi Kasai, director of the WHO’s Western Pacific region, got on the phone and dialled up some of Cambodia’s vaccinated seniors to have a chat with them about their jab experiences.
On September 1, Kasai tweeted that he was delighted to speak with Cambodian seniors in rural Ratanakkiri province, some whom are over 100 years old and are now fully vaccinated.
“Happy to see that the Cambodian government is getting vaccines to its hardest-to-reach areas,” he said.
WHO representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said she believed that elderly people in Cambodia were volunteering for vaccinations for three major reasons: to live longer, to be healthier and to protect their families by setting a good example that would encourage the younger generations to get vaccinated too.
“Glad that Covid-19 vaccines have reached some remote areas [through] remote vaccination sites,” Ailan tweeted on August 28.
“Reaching the unreached is the real goal when delivering vaccination services to protect the vulnerable including the elderly and people with chronic conditions,” she added.
Vaccinations in Cambodia are now set to continue on past second doses to include a third dose, or booster shot, in order to provide further protection against the highly-transmissible and more virulent Delta variant.
Booster jabs are already being administered to frontline workers including military and medical personnel in the provinces bordering Thailand in light of the Delta outbreak there and the added risk they face with large numbers of returning migrant workers.
The health ministry on August 31 issued an announcement regarding booster shots for government officials, civil servants, UN officials and those who have already been fully vaccinated with their first and second doses.
It said those who were originally vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jabs marketed as CoviShield will receive a third dose of AstraZeneca from September 6 onwards at locations to be announced soon.
According to the ministry, leaders and member of the government, legislatures, and dignitaries who serve as deputy prime ministers, senior ministers, secretary of state or the equivalent rank and their spouses will be given booster shots at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.
UN officials, diplomats and embassy staff, international financial institution representatives and employees and those who work for both Cambodia and internationally based NGOs and their families can get booster shots at Calmette Hospital from September 29 to October 2.
According to the ministry, booster shots with AstraZeneca will begin soon for residents of Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk, which were all prioritised in the first round due to the severity of their rates of transmission.
“The people eligible for these booster shots are those who have already been vaccinated with first and second doses of AstraZeneca’s CoviShield vaccines, with a period of four to six months having passed since their first shot,” said Vandine.
She added that planning is underway for booster shots for those vaccinated with Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.