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Rollout of Covid-19 vaccination for teenagers gets underway in Cambodia



PHOTO: Vincent Vega on Flickr

Cambodia is extending its Covid-19 vaccination programme to teenagers, starting in the capital Phnom Penh and another 3 hard-hit provinces. According to an AFP report, the grandchildren of the country’s leader, Hun Sen, were among the first to be vaccinated.

The vaccination of teenagers kicked off on Sunday, with doses administered to people between the ages of 12 and 17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk. Hun Sen has described the vaccination of Cambodia’s young people as key to achieving herd immunity.

“The vaccination for children today is a key step to herd immunity in communities. Children are like bamboo shoots. If the health of children is damaged now, we won’t have good bamboos.”

It’s understood the Cambodian leader watched as his grandchildren received their first doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine. In total, Cambodia plans to inoculate 2 million teenagers, with Hun Sen saying vaccination may be extended to children aged 10 and 11.

Like Thailand, Cambodia is currently in the grip of a severe wave of the virus, after seemingly getting off lightly last year. According to Hun Sen, booster doses will soon be administered to fully vaccinated adults and health officials are prepared to follow Thailand’s example of mixing vaccines.

Cambodia has also imposed strict restrictions in 8 provinces that border Thailand as a result of the Delta variant wreaking havoc here. In addition, Cambodian migrants in Thailand are currently barred from returning to their home country.

The vaccine rollout in Cambodia has seen over 7 million people vaccinated with officials using Sinovac or Sinopharm, as well as UK-produced AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson doses donated by the US.

A number of European countries, including France, Denmark, and Lithuania, have also extended vaccination to children in the race to achieve herd immunity.



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