August 18, 2021

Booster shot not a complete shield against Covid: Vandine

Or Vandine, health ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, speaks at the launch of the national campaign to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on Monday. HEALTH MINISTRY

Mom Kunthear and Voun Dara | The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date 17 August 2021 | 20:16 ICT

The national Covid-19 vaccination committee reminded the public that a third dose or booster shot of vaccine will not completely shield them from infections if they do not strictly adhere to other preventive measures.

Or Vandine, Ministry of Health spokeswoman and head of the committee, said: “Some people still think that once they have been vaccinated they can no longer be infected with the coronavirus and it was not necessary for them to implement other health measures. This is a misunderstanding,” she said on August 16 at the launch of the national Covid-19 campaign.

Vandine said if people continue to gather in groups, eat together in enclosed places and travel to work in crowded vehicles together, they will enable Covid-19 transmissions.

“Everybody must take care and be responsible for their health as well as share the responsibility for public health with their local authorities.

“By implementing the recommended health measures along with vaccinations, we can break the chain of transmission and cease passing the virus from person to another or spreading it in our communities,” she said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen approved the use of booster shots using the AstraZeneca vaccine for frontline medical workers and military personnel who have received two doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines.

The decision was made to bolster protection for frontline workers in the border provinces due to a surge in the number of migrant workers returning from Thailand recently, with hundreds of them testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival.

Health ministry statistics indicate that as of August 16, a total of 277,074 people had received booster shot of the AstraZeneca vaccines donated by Japan and the UK.

“The decision to provide this third dose was made because the typical immune response from two doses of vaccines might be weakened with the widespread circulation of new virus strains, especially delta and alpha,” Vandine said.

Vandine also urged heads of the municipal and provincial Covid-19 vaccination sub-commissions to increase awareness-raising outreach efforts and continue to encourage people to get vaccinated.

“In order to achieve our goal of vaccinating 10 million people aged 18 and over by late October or early November 2021, the national Covid-19 vaccination committee request that authorities at the local level to personally – and individually, if necessary – call on the people of their villages and communes who have yet to receive their first dose to get jabbed without delay,” she said.

As of the August 16, nearly 8.5 million Cambodians, or 84.56 per cent of the targeted adult population of 10 million – have been vaccinated nationwide.

For the 12-17 age group of nearly two million, more than 588,000, or around 30 per cent, have been vaccinated.

In total, Cambodia has vaccinated 56.53 per cent of the population of 16 million.

Separately, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications is now approaching two million rapid test kits sold to the public already and plans to import more of them in order to meet local demand.

Ministry spokesperson So Visothy told The Post on August 17 that the rapid test kits were all imported from South Korea previously, but tests purchased from China will begin arriving in Cambodia soon.

“Currently, we are still selling the devices we imported from South Korea. The ministry has sold a total of 1.7 million kits,” he said.

He added that in the next two months, the ministry will have enough devices for sale to meet the needs of all institutions and individuals.

“After we received many requests from the public it was decided that we should sell the tests for individual or family use as well, without any conditions attached,” he said.

The ministry started selling Covid-19 antigen rapid test kits at $3.70 per unit in order to complement government efforts to stem the coronavirus spread.

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