Fifth-dose vaccination campaign likely won’t be the last: Vandine

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Additional boosters of coronavirus vaccines may be needed down the road due to the relatively short-term immunity conferred by the shots, the top Covid-19 vaccination official said on June 9 as the fifth-dose campaign for frontline workers and priority groups kicked off.

Or Vandine, Ministry of Health spokeswoman and head of the National Covid-19 vaccination committee, said while visiting the Senate that the fifth-dose campaign was launched in the capital and all provinces for priority groups and frontline workers including medical personnel, government officials, diplomats and embassy staff, as well as journalists and people aged 60 and older.

“We have enough vaccines. There’s no shortage. More than nine million doses of vaccine are stored in the warehouse and that amount is enough to be giving people third, fourth and fifth doses as we are doing now,” she said.

She called on the public not to worry about the lack of Covid-19 vaccines as Cambodia will receive more jabs through donations and COVAX. Prime Minister Hun Sen, she noted, has announced the purchase of more than one million doses to be given to people from 2024-2026.

 

“I would like to inform you that the fifth dose of Covid-19 vaccinations began today. It is not the last one – we will vaccinate further as it does not provide a boost to the immune system that lasts as long as other vaccines do,” she said.

Vandine explained that vaccines have different durations such as the flu vaccine, which lasts one year, so people are required to get vaccinated against the flu once a year. The duration of the Covid-19 vaccine is less than a year, especially due to the Omicron variant.

She reminded the public not to neglect protecting themselves against Covid-19 despite Cambodia not detecting any new cases or suffering anymore deaths recently.

“Covid is still present in our world, even in Cambodia. We do not know where Covid is either. Hence, please do not forget that the virus can possibly infect you at all times. The only means we have to protect against it now is to get vaccinated,” he said.

Senator Tep Yuthy said after getting his fifth dose in June that from the first to the fifth dose his health has been in a normal state. He said he has a strong immune system and he noted that he had never caught a cold after the Covid-19 vaccination.

“I would like to call on all people to come and get vaccinated to protect our health and family members and communities. Do not believe the reckless incitements of the anti-vaccine people at all,” he said.

According to the health ministry, as of June 8, the Covid-19 vaccination rate was at 94.06 per cent of the Kingdom’s estimated population of 16 million. More than nine million people have received third doses and over 2.5 million have gotten their fourth.

A man receives his fifth dose of Covid-19 vaccines on the first day of the fifth dose campaign at Phnom Penh Referral Hospital in Prampi Makara district on June 9