Cambodia has started a fourth round of vaccination against the coronavirus in response to the ommicron variant, with high-risk groups being the first to receive the extra boosters
Frontline medical personnel and members of the armed forces lined up at hospitals and clinics. Government ministers, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, also received booster doses on Friday.
Hun Sen has called on all Cambodian people to be fully vaccinated, including a booster, saying on his Facebook page that it is the only way to protect their families and communities from COVID-19. There’s still a campaign going on to get people to get their third shot.
According to the government, nearly 90% of Cambodia’s 16 million people have had at least one dose, more than 85% a second injection and more than 27% a third. Thanks in large part to donations from close ally China, Cambodia has enough vaccine supplies to forward to other Asian countries in need.
Neighboring Thailand, which, like Cambodia, relied largely on Chinese vaccines during the early stages of its vaccination program last year, announced last week that the fourth doses will be given to medical personnel whose third injection was at least three months ago.
The first case of the ommicron variant in Cambodia was confirmed in mid-December in a 23-year-old woman returning from Ghana.
Cambodia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers on Nov. 15, two weeks ahead of schedule, in an effort to revitalize the country’s economic and social activity.
The vaccination campaign started slowly, but increased rapidly. Since the beginning of November, children aged 5 and older have been included in the program.
At the beginning of this month, restrictions on domestic tourism, schools and other sectors were also lifted.
The Department of Health reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, all the ommicron variant, with four imported and six local transmissions. Cambodia has registered 120,728 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 3,015 deaths.