The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) commended the government for providing Covid-19 vaccinations to migrant workers.
In a press statement on November 30, IOM Cambodia said around 3,900 migrants in Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Battambang provinces have received jabs since the vaccination drive began in September this year. The campaign will continue until at least the end of this year.
“We are grateful to the Royal Government of Cambodia for the rapid, fair and equitable access to vaccines for all with the inclusion of migrants – regardless of their status – in the national Covid-19 vaccination programmes and other public health interventions,” said Kristin Parco, IOM’s chief of mission in Cambodia.
The statement said the IOM, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) worked together under the leadership of the Cambodian government to support the national immunisation efforts to vaccinate all eligible people in the country – including vulnerable groups such as migrants and those living in the border areas.
“This is a crucial step towards protecting and safeguarding migrants and communities in the key provinces migrant workers return to from Thailand or use for transiting to their home communities.
“More than 260,000 migrant workers have returned to Cambodia from Thailand since the beginning of the pandemic crisis in March 2020,” the statement said.
It added that Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand were often engaged in irregular or informal employment with no official documentation and limited access to healthcare facilities and that back home in Cambodia, migrants are considered one the most vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic.
It said that economic hardships and limited access to information constitute the main barriers to migrants regularly accessing essential health services.
‘We’ve called on the local population, including migrants, to actively participate in the vaccination drive and reminded them that the jab is still the most effective way to protect yourself and those around you, especially when they want to return to work legally,” said Le Chansanvanth, a senior official from the Banteay Meanchey provincial health department.
Cambodia has had over 119,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and over 2,800 people have died from it since the start of the pandemic.
“The hope is that with [the government’s] comprehensive inclusion of all migrants in the vaccines roll-out, the number of cases and the negative impact of Covid-19 will be reduced for everyone,” the statement said.