As his quest to obtain COVID-19 vaccines for Cambodians continues, Prime Minister Hun Sen has said he expects around 500,000 people to be inoculated before Khmer New Year, which will be held in April.
The Premier made the remark this morning, during the inauguration of the new office building of the Ministry of Public Works and the Techo Sen Institute of Public Works and Transport.
He said 300,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine will arrive in Cambodia in February and has asked the Ministry of Health to conduct a survey to find out how many people are willing to take the vaccine.
“China is pushing to send 600,000 doses of the vaccine to Cambodia and I want to see 500,000 Cambodians vaccinated before Khmer New Year,” he said.
The Premier reiterated that he will be the first person in Cambodia to take the Chinese vaccine, adding that he will hold a press conference after his vaccination at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.
Mr Hun Sen also said this morning that he has sent a letter to Li Keqiang, premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, which last week agreed to donate one million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Cambodia, and also had a discussion with the Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia, Wang Wentain, to find a way to bring more vaccines to Cambodia.
“The move may involve ordering more vaccines from China with the fund donated to us by China or from our reserve,” the Premier said, adding that Cambodia will vaccinate its people with both Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, both of which have been produced by Chinese companies.
Mr Hun Sen also said he has sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking if he will consider supplying the Indian-made Covaxin and Covashield vaccines to Cambodia, as the country is implementing one of the world’s largest vaccination campaigns aimed at inoculating 300 million people. He is also considering asking for vaccines from South Korea and purchasing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the United Kingdom with funds provided by the Asian Development Bank.
“We have many options, and we will also receive vaccines from Covax, which may arrive in Cambodia by March, which will allow us to vaccinate 20 percent of the population. We will buy another one million doses through Covax, which could be a mixture of vaccines from different countries,” he said.
Cambodia’s COVID-19 tally now stands at 456 confirmed cases, consisting of 329 Cambodians, 45 French, 18 Chinese, 13 Malaysians, 13 Indonesians, 12 Americans, six British, three Vietnamese, three Canadians, three Indians, two Hungarians, two Pakistanis, two Japanese, one Belgian, one Kazakh, one Polish, one Nigerian and one Jordanian.
Of them, 81 are Cambodian migrant workers who have returned from Thailand.