PHNOM PENH, June 9 (Xinhua) — Cambodia started providing the fifth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups across the country on Thursday, health ministry’s secretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine said.
The priority groups include leaders of the government, the senate and the parliament, health workers, government officials, civil servants, armed forces, the elderly, staff of embassies, national and international organizations, journalists, and celebrities.
“Vaccine is the most powerful tool to protect your lives from the COVID-19,” she told reporters while visiting an inoculation site in Phnom Penh.
“Booster doses are essential to strengthen your immunity against COVID-19, so please come for your booster shots when your turns come,” she added.
The spokeswoman said the interval between the fourth and the fifth doses is at least three months.
The Southeast Asian country has become a state of COVID-zero since Tuesday after the last patient recovered. Vandine attributed the country’s success in controlling the pandemic to the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
The kingdom has so far administered one dose of COVID-19 vaccines to over 15 million people, or 94 percent of its 16 million population, the health ministry said, adding that of them, 14.3 million, or 89.4 percent of the population, have been fully vaccinated with two required shots.
Also, some 9.28 million, or 58 percent, have got a third dose, and 2.6 million, or 16 percent, have had a fourth dose.
Propelled by vaccinations, Cambodia has resumed all socioeconomic activities and reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers without quarantine since November last year.
China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines have been widely used in the kingdom’s immunization program.
Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said vaccines have protected lives, stabilized the health system and revived the economy.
“The royal government of Cambodia has made the correct decision to choose China as a strategic supplier of COVID-19 vaccines so that’s why Cambodia has enough vaccines for its people,” he told Xinhua.