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Cambodia launches COVID-19 vaccination drive with Chinese jabs

(Xinhua)    17:14, February 11, 2021

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 10 -- Cambodia on Wednesday kicked off an anti-COVID-19 inoculation campaign days after receiving a donation of Sinopharm vaccines from China.

The arrival of the first consignment of Chinese vaccines on Sunday triggered the first wave of vaccinations.

Hun Manet, the eldest son of Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, got the first dose of the jab at the Calmette Hospital in capital Phnom Penh as the drive started at 8:00 a.m. local time.

"I'm present here, came here first and got the first dose of the vaccine, I'm completely confident in this vaccine," he told Xinhua. "I encourage people to get this vaccine because your participation is very important to prevent the spread of COVID-19," he said.

Manet, who is a deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and the commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, expressed his profound gratitude to China for providing the jabs to the kingdom.

"The first provision of the vaccine to Cambodia is very important for us to start the vaccination drive to prevent the virus spread," he said. "I'd like to express my profound thanks to the Chinese government and people for helping us in this difficult time."

Ministry of Health secretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine said health authorities will initially vaccinate priority groups including frontline health workers, government officials, armed forces, and journalists, among others.

"Today, the COVID-19 vaccination campaign begins with Sinopharm vaccine we've received from the People's Republic of China," she said.

"Thanks to good relations and cooperation between Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Chinese leaders, the People's Republic of China has shared her vaccine with our Cambodian people, so this humanitarian act truly reflects China's kindness and generosity."

She said each individual has to be given two doses of the vaccine around 14 to 28 days apart.

"This vaccine is safe and highly effective, and I'd like to encourage people to receive it because it will protect us, our family and the community from the COVID-19," she said. "This vaccine has greatly contributed to protecting Cambodian people and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community."

The spokeswoman said that after getting the first dose of COVID-19, the recipients would be observed for 30 minutes in the hospital.

Speaking during the launch of the vaccination drive for armed forces at the Preah Ket Mealea Hospital, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh said the Sinopharm vaccine is very safe and highly effective and used widely in China and other countries.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said the Sinopharm vaccine has been recognized as a safe and effective vaccine and approved for use by many countries in the region and in the world.

"This is the fruit of cooperation between Cambodia and China, our ironclad friend," he wrote on his official Facebook page.

Cambodia approved the emergency use of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday, saying that "the vaccine is used safely in China and other countries."

The Southeast Asian nation has done well to contain the spread of COVID-19. The kingdom has so far registered a total of 478 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with zero deaths and 457 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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