Cambodia has 64.4 percent of its 16 million population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, raising hope for a return to normal life in the near future.
PHNOM PENH, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia has administered at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines to 12.05 million people, or 75.3 percent of the kingdom's 16-million population, raising hope for a return to normal life in the near future, officials and experts said on Monday.
Of them, 10.3 million, or 64.4 percent, have been fully vaccinated with both required shots, and 830,814, or 5.2 percent, have received a booster dose, health ministry's secretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine said in a report.
"As of Sept. 19, some 98.27 percent of 10 million target adults, 88 percent of nearly 2 million target adolescents aged from 12 to under 18, and 25.94 percent of almost 1.9 million target children aged from six to under 12 have taken at least one vaccine dose," she said.
The Southeast Asian nation launched a COVID-19 vaccination drive in February, with China being the key vaccine supplier.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has said that Chinese vaccines have helped Cambodia to develop herd immunity, reducing infections, hospitalizations and fatalities.
"If there were no vaccine supplies from China, so far, Cambodia could have vaccinated 2 million people at most," he said during the handover ceremony of the China-aided Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh on Sept. 12.
World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said to date, Cambodia has successfully received 29.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from three sources through bilateral procurement, COVAX Facility, and donations.
She said a total of 22.5 million doses, or 76 percent, were Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines procured from China, and 4.3 million doses, equivalent of 14.5 percent, were donated by China to Cambodia.
Li said Cambodia is one of the most successful countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region in securing adequate vaccines and vaccinating its targeted population.
"We understand that the targeted 10 million people aged 18 years old and older will be fully vaccinated within eight months of the vaccine rollout, possibly by October 2021," she told Xinhua. "This achievement occurs much earlier than the date originally planned of June 2022."
She said the WHO has seen the impacts of Cambodia's COVID-19 vaccinations in the reductions of severe disease, hospitalizations, and deaths among those fully vaccinated.
"WHO is very pleased that a combination of the Cambodian government's strong leadership, active public participation, and effective partnerships makes Cambodia's vaccine rollout a great success," Li said.
She said it is essential for the business sector and the tourist sector to put COVID-19 risk-mitigation measures in place before reopening.
"Businesses should prepare now for reopening safely and responsibly in the near future," she said.
Foroogh Foyouzat, representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Cambodia, said Cambodia has seen an "incredible progress" in its COVID-19 vaccinations.
"Cambodia has done remarkably well in its vaccination coverage of the targeted population so far," she told Xinhua. "This makes it one of the most vaccinated countries in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region and globally, an exceptional achievement."
Sam Kamsann, vice principal of the Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh, said with the Chinese vaccines, both educators and students in secondary and high schools gradually returned to school last week after a closure for nearly seven months due to the pandemic.
"We're very grateful to China for supplying the vaccines to Cambodia," he told Xinhua. "If there was no China's help, until this hour, we wouldn't have enough vaccines to inoculate our teachers and students."
Kamsann, who has been fully vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine, said he was totally confident in the safety, quality and efficacy of the jab in protecting himself from the COVID-19.
Cambodia reported 622 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, pushing the national total caseload to 104,716, the health ministry said, adding that 14 new fatalities were registered, bringing the overall death toll to 2,123.
Additional 473 patients recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 97,700, said the health ministry.