Sick Earth-Plague Day 328
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that Cambodia will receive COVID-19 vaccines for three percent of the population when they are officially released.
Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine told Khmer Times via Telegram yesterday, that when a vaccine is officially released, the WHO-led Covax initiative will be able to supply Cambodia with vaccines for three percent of the population, or just over 500,000 people.
“We would not be able to obtain all of the vaccines at once,” she said from Oddar Meanchey province. “They will be distributed in stages because the potential for vaccine production is limited. They will not only be distributed to Cambodia, but to the whole world. They must be divided equally as everyone has an equal right to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Vandine said the WHO, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation and the National Immunisation Programme of the Ministry of Health have agreed to create a development plan to review how the vaccine will be distributed, and who should be vaccinated first.
“According to WHO technicians, some of the eight vaccines it is reviewing may be available by mid-2021,” she claimed. “However, this is just an unpredictable estimate.”
Vandine said that Cambodia had not yet decided whether to administer vaccines, when and if they are officially available, to protect senior government officials or frontline medical staff first.
She said even when a vaccine is made available, there will not be enough to administer to everyone in the world.
She added that the Ministry of Health and the WHO will still require people to take precautionary measures against the virus even after a vaccine is found.
The current population of Cambodia is at 16,788,168, as of Tuesday, based on Worldometer’s report of the latest United Nations data. Therefore a potential 503,645 Cambodians could receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
On October 12, Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi also promised that Cambodia will be one of the first countries to receive a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China, once one becomes available, during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, co-chair of the Cambodia-China Intergovernmental Coordination Committee on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the Common Destiny Community of Cambodia-China.
However, Vandine said that she does not have this information and does not yet know how many doses of a Chinese vaccine would be given.
Prime Minister Hun Sen also asked Russia to provide a COVID-19 vaccine last month during a meeting with Anatoly Borovik, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Cambodia, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced they will start mass production next month.
Mr Hun Sen said Cambodia congratulates Russia on its discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Rafael Iangareev, Russian Embassy press attaché in Phnom Penh, told Khmer Times that the embassy had notified the relevant Russian authorities about the Kingdom’s interest in the vaccine. The diplomatic mission is waiting for a response.
On October 13, The World Bank pledged $12 billion to developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment.
The financing “aims to support vaccination of up to one billion people,” the bank said in a statement.
The money is part of an overall World Bank Group (WBG) package of up to $160 billion to be dispersed through June 2021, designed to help developing countries battle the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Access to safe and effective vaccines “and strengthened delivery systems are key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” WBG president David Malpass said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Cambodia registered another new imported case of COVID-19 yesterday.
The Ministry of Health issued a statement that identified the patient as a Polish man, 47, who was diagnosed with the virus after returning from Poland via a South Korea flight on Monday.
He is receiving medical treatment at the Khmer-Soviet friendship hospital in Phnom Penh.
“The other 53 passengers on board his flight have tested negative for the virus but have still been placed in quarantine for 14 days, and 27 of the passengers have been placed in designated hotels across Phnom Penh with the remaining 26 placed in the Air Force quarantine centre,” the statement said.
With 280 recoveries and six active cases, Cambodia’s total number of cases now stands at 286. They include: 178 Cambodians, 43 French, 18 Chinese, 13 Malaysians, nine Indonesians, seven Americans, six British, three Vietnamese, three Canadians, two Indians, one Belgian, one Kazakh, one Hungarian and one Polish.
Khann Chanvirak / Khmer Times
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