UN officials commended Cambodia's all-out Covid-19 vaccination campaign as the latest batch of vaccines provided through Covax – a global initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines – arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport on the evening of October 22.
Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath was on hand to receive the 124,800 doses of Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine along with UNICEF and World Health Organisation representatives to Cambodia.
Sambath said during the handover ceremony that Cambodia had so far received a total of 2.5 million doses through Covax. It is part of the total 6.6 million doses that Covax had committed to provide to Cambodia. The remaining four million doses will come in phase at unspecified time.
UNICEF Cambodia commended Cambodia's vaccination drive which has reached over 85 per cent of the total population of around 16 million in just under eight months, making it one of the world's top countries with the highest rate of vaccinations.
As of October 23, Cambodia has vaccinated 99.71 per cent of the adult population of 10 million, 90.59 per cent of the 12-17 age group of nearly two million, and 100 per cent of the 6-11 age group of nearly 1.9 million.
“The Kingdom’s comprehensive coverage is being bolstered by the government’s booster shot campaign, which began on October 11 and has reinforced the immunity of 1.5 million people so far,” UNICEF Cambodia said in a press statement.
UNICEF representative to Cambodia Foroogh Foyouzat cautioned that vaccination alone is not a cure-all for Covid-19. She said the public must remain vigilant and continue to implement health measures including the three dos and three don'ts in order for the government to safely reopen society and the economy.
"I am very happy that all schools will reopen on November 1,” she said.
WHO representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said it was good news that economic activities will resume as businesses and the general public have been hit hard by the pandemic. But she also cautioned that everyone has to balance the reopening and health measure implementation.
“We all, myself included, have to take precautions. If we reopen, we have to have clear preventive measures to avoid a recurrence of Covid-19,” she said.