Ministry Explains Vaccine Efficacy as Immunized Soldiers Get Covid-19

2 min read
Soldiers gathered for a presentation in Kampong Chhnang province on March 10, 2021. (Hun Manet Facebook Page)

The Health Ministry reiterated Thursday that social distancing, masks, washing hands and avoiding large gatherings are still necessary despite vaccinations to stem the spread of Covid-19, after three soldiers tested positive despite receiving inoculations.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday also announced that Cambodia would be getting 1.5 million doses of a third type of vaccine, made by Chinese manufacturer Sinovac, in a week’s time.

In an audio recording, Hun Sen said the Sinovac doses would add to the Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines already being rolled out. He said 111,400 doses of AstraZeneca remained out of the 324,000 delivered two weeks ago, while Cambodia would receive 400,000 more doses of Sinopharm before the Khmer New Year next month.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was approved by the World Health Organization last month, while the WHO anticipates a decision on both Sinopharm and Sinovac in April at the earliest.

Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine said on Thursday that vaccinations alone cannot prevent the spread of Covid-19 as vaccinated people can still be infected — they will just be able to fight off the disease better.

“Even if we are vaccinated, we can still get infected,” she said. “It’s just that when we get infected, we have guards to attack Covid-19. It minimizes the severity of Covid-19.”

She asked that all people continue to comply with the ministry’s recommended health measures, such as wearing masks, washing hands, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowds.

The advice came as Defense Minister Tea Banh said that as of Thursday three soldiers had tested positive for Covid-19 — two of whom had received their first doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, while the third soldier had received two doses.

He would not say how many soldiers would be placed in quarantine due to contact with the positive cases.

“Our military still has a lot of work to do, including being cautious, speeding up the vaccinations. And those who have already been vaccinated must still be careful,” Banh said.

National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun also said that a police officer had tested positive on Wednesday and about 300 contacts were placed in quarantine.

Three offices of the National Police Commissariat were also ordered to close to prevent the disease’s spread, Kim Khoeun added.
The government has prioritized vaccinations for government officials and soldiers since the rollout of its campaign on February 10.

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