Phnom Penh Claims 99.2 Percent Vaccinations as Campaign Closes

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People queue for vaccines on the street in front of Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey primary school on May 11, 2021. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

More than 2.1 million Phnom Penh residents have been vaccinated with first doses, or 99.2 percent of the capital’s population, the Health Ministry said on Thursday as the city’s public vaccination campaign came to a close.

The districts of Chroy Changva, Daun Penh and Prek Pnov were the final three areas to be targeted in the campaign, which kicked off with the aid of soldiers in “red zone” areas during the capital’s lockdown earlier this year.

Prek Pnov deputy district governor Sak Sitha said her area was on Thursday finishing up second doses for residents — all but 1 or 2 percent, who she said had health problems or other complications.

However, Sitha said the district was still seeing more Covid-19 infections than before, for a total of 11 deaths and 500 cases. She said patients appeared to be recovering faster.

“Even with two shots of the vaccine, people can still get positive with Covid-19 if they are careless,” she said, noting Health Ministry advice that the vaccine reduced the severity of the disease, not necessarily transmission.

Daun Penh district governor Sok Penh Vuth also confirmed that Thursday was his district’s last day of vaccinations, saying the area could be considered as “fully vaccinated” for those 18 and older.

Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine posted a speech on Thursday saying that 2.13 million people had been vaccinated with at least their first doses in Phnom Penh — or 99.2 percent of the city’s current adult population estimate, or 121 percent based on 2019 census figures. She also raised the possibility of securing third doses for people in the future. The figure also included people from outside the city who came to be vaccinated, she said.

Based on the 2019 census, Phnom Penh has a population of 2.28 million, and 25.6 percent of the overall urban population is 14 and under. Only people over 18 have been vaccinated.

The ministry says the nationwide campaign has hit 47 percent of its goal of 10 million people vaccinated. However, new cases and deaths remain at record levels, with a further 954 cases and 27 deaths reported on Thursday.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated that Vandine did not make clear in her speech that the 99.2 percent figure was based on the adult population.

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