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Cambodia to mix vaccines as booster shots to fight COVID-19

Cambodia will begin offering a booster shot against Covid-19, switching between the AstraZeneca and Chinese COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.

Cambodia to mix vaccines as booster shots to fight COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: A Cambodian army member vaccinates a person inside a red zone with strict lockdown measures, amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 1, 2021. REUTERS/Cindy Liu

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will begin offering a booster shot against COVID-19, switching between the AstraZeneca and Chinese COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, launching the vaccination campaign for 12-17 years old, said on Sunday (Aug 1) that the third dose will be offered to between 500,000 and one million frontline workers as a priority.

"People who have already been vaccinated with Sinopharm and Sinovac should be given AstraZeneca as the third booster dose," Hun Sen said in a speech which was broadcast on social media. 

READ: Cambodia imposes COVID-19 lockdowns along Thai border over Delta fears 

"For Cambodians who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Sinovac should be given as the third dose," he added.

Hun Sen also said the country will purchase more AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX for the booster shots and the recent US-funded Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be used to vaccinate indigenous peoples in northeastern Cambodia.

Cambodia has launched a lockdown in eight provinces bordering Thailand this week in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said this week that the Delta variant has been detected amongst migrants returning from Thailand through land borders and is now in the local community.

"We are racing against new variants. We must act today, and we must act fast to have no regrets tomorrow," said Li Ailan, WHO Representative to Cambodia, in a statement on Saturday.

VACCINATIONS BEGIN FOR TEENAGERS

On Sunday, Cambodia also began vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 17, starting the campaign in its capital Phnom Penh, as well as in the three hardest-hit provinces of Kandal, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk.

"The vaccination for children today is a key step to herd immunity in communities," said Hun Sen​​​​​​​.

READ: Cambodia turns hotel into hospital as COVID-19 cases rise

"Children are like bamboo shoots. If the health of children is damaged now, we won't have good bamboos."

Earlier in the day, he watched as doctors administered the Chinese-made Sinovac to his grandchildren.

They will be among the two million teenagers expected to be vaccinated, Hun Sen said, adding that the kingdom is mulling inoculating children aged ten and eleven.

Several countries in Europe - like Denmark, France and Lithuania - have begun vaccinating children in a bid to faster reach herd immunity.

Cambodia managed to largely contain the virus for most of last year, but an outbreak first detected in late February has driven up total cases to 77,919, with 1,420 deaths.

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Source: Reuters/ad

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