New arrival of China-donated jabs helps Cambodia's COVID-19 vaccination

An airport worker transports packages of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Oct. 14, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

PHNOM PENH, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A plane carrying another batch of China-donated Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the capital of Cambodia on Tuesday amid the country's booster shots vaccination drive.

The arrival of the new batch was livestreamed on Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen's official Facebook page, the state-run National Television of Cambodia (TVK), and the country's online news provider Fresh News.

Ministry of Health Secretary of State Yok Sambath and Wu Guoquan, economic and commercial counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, welcomed the arrival at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

"Today, we received more than 1.5 million doses of Sinovac vaccine, and tomorrow (Wednesday), another batch of nearly 3.5 million doses will arrive in Cambodia through two planes," Sambath told reporters.

Sambath expressed her profound gratitude to China, saying that the new donation was another testament to the ironclad friendship between Cambodia and China.

"China is our major vaccine supplier," she said. "This new vaccine will be used to support our booster shot campaign and to vaccinate our children aged from 3 to 5 years old."

She said vaccines are highly effective against both infection and serious illness as well as death.

Wu said the donation highlights the ironclad friendship and all-weather relationship between China and Cambodia.

"As long as COVID-19 is not over, China's support for Cambodia's fight against the pandemic will not end," he said.

The southeast Asian nation has so far received a total of almost 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from three sources through bilateral procurement, the World Health Organization (WHO)'s COVAX Facility, and donations. Of the total, about 84 percent were bought from or donated by China.

To date, Cambodia has administered one dose of COVID-19 vaccines to 14.8 million people, or 92.5 percent of its 16-million population, the Ministry of Health said.

Of them, 13.99 million, or 87.4 percent, have been fully vaccinated with two required shots, 7.91 million, or 49 percent, have taken a third dose or booster shot, and 1.15 million, or 7.2 percent, have got a fourth dose, the ministry added.

Director-general and spokesman of the Health Ministry Hok Kim Cheng said Chinese vaccines have helped Cambodia to achieve strong herd immunity and to revive its economy.

"Chinese vaccines are essential for Cambodia to save people's lives and to stabilize our health system," he told Xinhua.

With its high vaccination rates, Cambodia has fully resumed its socio-economic activities and reopened its borders to vaccinated travelers without quarantine since November last year.