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Cambodia starts COVID-19 vaccinations for kids aged 3-4 with China's Sinovac vaccine

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-02-23 15:27
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A worker transfers a shipment of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Nov 17, 2021. [PHEARUM/XINHUA]

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia on Wednesday began inoculating children aged three and four against COVID-19 with China's Sinovac vaccine amid a surge in daily cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

A lot of kids, assisted by their parents or legal guardians, are seen waiting for their first dose at vaccination sites in capital Phnom Penh, as the inoculation drive targets roughly 700,000 children at this age group across the kingdom.

Speaking to Xinhua after having her 3-year-old girl vaccinated at an inoculation site in the capital's Pochentong Referral Hospital, Touch Sreyroth, 30, said she is delighted for this group age to be eligible for vaccination against the virus.

"I'm very happy that my little girl received her first shot of China's Sinovac vaccine today because I had waited for this time for several months," she said. "I believe that vaccine can protect my daughter against the COVID-19, especially the Omicron variant."

Sreyroth said as a mother, she's always worried about her daughter's safety, but she feels relieved now after her little girl received the jab.

"I absolutely trust the safety, quality and efficiency of Sinovac vaccine in protecting my life and family from this highly contagious disease. So far, all of my family members have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Sinovac vaccine," she said.

Ek Chantha, a 37-year-old mother, said Chinese vaccines have not only protected Cambodian people's lives but also helped the country reopen its socio-economic activities in all areas with confidence.

"A friend in need is a friend indeed. China, thank you for supplying vaccines to Cambodia. We will remember this help forever, and thank the Cambodian government for providing vaccines to us free of charge," she told Xinhua after having her little son inoculated.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said Cambodia and China have been standing together through thick and thin, adding that the joint COVID-19 fight should serve as a role model for cooperation between countries.

"Our joint COVID-19 fight proves that our ironclad friendship is unbreakable and there is no doubt that this joint effort will inject fresh impetus into the building of a community with a shared future between Cambodia and China," he told Xinhua.

Cambodian health ministry's secretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine said each child has to be given two doses of the Sinovac vaccine 28 days apart.

Meanwhile, she urged people to continue caution as the Omicron variant is widely circulating in the country.

"It is not a flu disease and our complacency will create a good environment for the virus to attack our bodies," she wrote on social media. "3 dos + 3 don'ts + COVID-19 vaccinations will save life, reduce disease severity, hospitalization, and death."

China's Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines are most widely used in Cambodia's immunization campaign.

As of Tuesday, the southeast Asian nation had administered at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines to 14.4 million people aged five and older, or 90 percent of the country's 16-million population, the health ministry said.

Of them, 13.82 million people, or 86.4 percent, had been fully vaccinated with two required shots, 6.47 million, or 40.4 percent, had taken a third dose or booster shot, and 858,739, or 5.3 percent, had got a fourth dose, the ministry added.

The kingdom on Wednesday registered 558 new COVID-19 cases, all were confirmed to be the Omicron, with one new death, the ministry said, adding that to date, the country had recorded a total of 128,133 cases, with 121,553 recoveries and 3,023 fatalities.

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