Hun Sen ‘Begs’ People to get Third Covid-19 Vax Dose, Warns of Potential Outbreak

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A frontline worker is giving a fifth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on June 9, 2022. (Ministry of Health Facebook page)
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Prime Minister Hun Sen urged people to get a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines to prevent an outbreak among those who may have lost immunity against the virus.

Hun Sen released a 14-minute audio recording Monday evening in which he said he was concerned not enough people had taken a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine, which could affect Cambodia’s successes in controlling the virus. 

“It is not a difficulty [of lacking] vaccines but what is difficult is people are not coming for the vaccines,” he said, begging for people to get inoculated. “This is an issue that can cause difficulty next time.”

Cambodia had rolled out a largely successful vaccination drive helped by donations and purchases from countries like China, the U.S and Australia, as well as the E.U. bloc.

Hun Sen said Cambodia had successfully been Covid-free for the past 51 days and was worried lagging vaccination numbers could hamper the country’s efforts to emerge from the pandemic. 

Ministry of Health statistics released Monday show that 9.43 million people received a third dose, compared to the 14,3 million who received two. The number dropped for fourth doses administered, with only 2.8 million taking a fourth shot of Covid-19 vaccines. The government has just started a drive to offer a fifth dose.

Hun Sen asked provincial and capital authorities to make it easy for citizens to get the vaccine. He also asked these authorities to study where they can find large populations of people who needed a third shot, and to target these groups for vaccination. 

The government moved to completely open the economy late last year and allowed anyone who was fully vaccinated to enter the country without quarantine. This was preceded by another Hun Sen diktat to reduce testing, especially the use of rapid antigen tests, because they were increasing Covid-19 numbers.

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