Cambodia Vaccinate children aged 6-11 before schools reopen

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Cambodia on Friday began vaccinating children aged 6-11 so students can safely return to schools that have been closed for months due to the coronavirus.

The Prime Minister, Hun Sen, opened the campaign to vaccinate children, speaking live on state television and his Facebook page, where his grandchildren and family members of other senior officials were shown receiving stabs.

“Protecting children’s health and lives is our duty as we want to make sure that once they return to their schools, these children and their teachers are safe from COVID-19,” Hun Sen declared.

Cambodia has already vaccinated older children, and Hun Sen said he has ordered health officials to study whether children aged 3 to 5 can also be vaccinated. No date has been announced for schools to reopen.

A young girl sanitizes her hands before receiving an injection of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine at Samrong Krom Health Center outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, September 17, 2021.
AP

Nearly 72 percent of Cambodia’s 17 million people have received at least one injection of COVID-19 since vaccinations began in February. Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharma vaccines are responsible for most of the vaccinations.

Hun Sen, 69, who was fully vaccinated and received a booster dose on Tuesday, said Cambodia’s priority in recovering from the pandemic is to reopen the education sector, followed by allowing service industries, including domestic tourism, to resume activities.

Children wait in front of Samrong Krum Health Center outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia, before they receive an injection of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, September 17, 2021.
Children wait in front of Samrong Krum Health Center outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia, before they receive an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac on Friday, September 17, 2021.
AP

He said Cambodia is considering reopening its doors to fully vaccinated foreign tourists in the near future. The tourism sector is very important to the country’s economy, he said, and Chinese visitors are expected to be the largest group of arrivals once Cambodia reopens.

Hun Sen said that while Cambodia’s coronavirus infection rate remains high, it appears to be slowing due to vaccination levels, which are higher than most other countries in Southeast Asia.

On Friday, the Cambodian Ministry of Health reported 698 new cases and 11 deaths, adding to the country’s total number of infections of 102,834 cases and 2,089 deaths due to COVID-19.

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