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Cambodian Health Minister: Vaccines save people’s lives and accelerate socio-economic recovery

KHMER TIMES Wed, March 3, 2021

The first batch of AstraZenecca COVID-19 vaccines from India being carted away after unloading. AKP

PHNOM PENH – Vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic not only save people’s lives, but also speed up the socio-economy recovery.

The remarks were made by. Prof. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, at the First Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccines from the COVAX Facility held at Phnom Penh International Airport this evening, following the arrival of 324,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to Cambodia.

The 324,000 doses are the first batch of the 1.1 million doses of India-made AstraZeneca vaccine that Cambodia must receive before the end of May 2021 from COVAX, he said, adding that the centre will provide vaccine for 20 percent of the total Cambodian population of 16 million people, which is equivalent to 3.2 million people.

Despite the vaccine’s arrival, Minister called on all his compatriots to continue to follow the Prime Minister’s recommendation of “3 Dos and 3 Don’ts” in order to contain and prevent the COVID-19 spread.

On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), Prof. Bunheng expressed his gratitude to COVAX Facility, WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, CEPI and other partners for their cooperation and coordination so that Cambodia can receive the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine Tuesday night.

For their part, Dr. Li Ailan, Representative of WHO and Ms. Foroogh Foyouzat, Representative of UNICEF in Cambodia spoke highly of the leadership and supported the efforts of the RGC and the Ministry of Health in ensuring safe vaccines for the population, contributing to a safer and more secure world.

Even though they believe that vaccine is a crucial new tool in the fight against COVID-19, they urged for continued implementation of the public health measures guided by the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Li appealed for collective action and solidarity in fighting the current cluster infections in Cambodia, known as the Feb. 20 Community Event, while Ms. Foyouzat laid stress on the importance of equitable distribution of vaccine and access to information about who, when, where to get the vaccine so as to increase people’s confidence on the vaccine.

The COVAX Facility is an unprecedented global effort to provide every country in the world with equitable access to safe COVID-19 vaccines as rapidly as possible. COVAX Facility is led by GAVI, CEPI and the WHO in partnership with UNICEF. Cambodia is among the first countries in the Western Pacific Region to receive vaccines from COVAX Facility. C. Nika – AKP

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