Cambodian Health Ministry Secretary of State Ms Or Vandine has clarified that Cambodia has not shunned Chinese vaccines or any other COVID-19 vaccines.
“All Prime Minister Hun Sen said is that Cambodia will procure vaccines which have been approved by the World Health Organisation and has not rejected any vaccines. If you recall, Cambodia has requested for vaccine assistance from Russia and Chinese in the past,” she said.
Some foreign media had reported that Cambodia has shunned Chinese vaccines, especially when the Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia had posted on his face book that China was ready to assist Cambodia with vaccines two weekends ago.
The Cambodian Ministry of Health has rejected media reports that Prime Minister Hun Sen has publicly shunned the use of Chinese coronavirus vaccines.
Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Wednesday evening that a media outlet had falsely quoted a speech made by Hun Sen on Tuesday. Without naming the outlet, she said it had claimed Cambodia would not buy Covid-19 vaccines from China.
She said Hun Sen actually said Cambodia would only use vaccines approved by the World Health Organization. He also announced that the country would take part in the WHO-led Covax Facility vaccine scheme which grants lower income countries enough vaccines to inoculate 20 per cent of their population.
Mr Hun Sen had also repeated that Cambodia would also buy 1 million vaccines from the Covax scheme to inoculate 500,000 vulnerable category, including security and front liners.
Ms Vandine stressed that Mr Hun Sen’s statement was clear as Cambodia would only buy vaccines approved by the world health body since any vaccine procured under the Covax scheme would still require WHO approval.
She added that the permanent secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Vongsey Visoth had already announced that the government will buy a vaccine that is recognised by the World Health Organization, irrespective of whether it was through the Covax initiative or via direct purchase from pharmaceutical companies and or through bilateral diplomatic channels.
“Thus, there should be no speculations, distortion nor nuances on this,” she said.
Currently several vaccines have already been approved for emergency use such as Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, Spuknit V and several more are on the verge of approvals by the respective regulatory bodies.
None have been approved by the WHP to date.