Cambodia on Friday began vaccinating children as young as six against the coronavirus, although the World Health Organisation has yet to approve a vaccine for the under-12s.
The country has won praise for its swift vaccination program, which has seen quite 98% of the adult population receive at least one dose, consistent with the health ministry.
The latest phase of the drive began with the grandchildren of Prime Minister Hun Sen and other officials receiving a Sinovac shot in front of reporters in Phnom Penh.
“It is important for us to try to do this because we’ve to step ahead,” Hun Sen said.
Cambodia plans to offer two shots of the Chinese-made vaccine to children aged six to 12, with a 3rd booster later.
Sinovac has been approved for adult use in additional than 50 countries, while China has cleared it to be used in children.
But health experts aren’t yet sure about the advisability of vaccinating younger children. the world Health Organisation has urged countries to carry off jabbing those under 12.“More evidence is required on the use of the various Covid-19 vaccines in children to be ready to make general recommendations,” the UN health agency said.
A global study on the effectiveness of the Sinovac shot on youngsters aged between six months and 17 years was launched last week.
The research will involve 14,000 children and teenagers in South Africa, Chile, Kenya, Malaysia, and therefore the Philippines.
But Hun Sen, the strongman who has ruled Cambodia for over three decades, dismissed safety concerns.
“Cambodia has its duty to guard the lives of its people and features a duty to reopen the economy, including education,” he said.
After Singapore, Cambodia has ranked second for the speed of its vaccination program in Southeast Asia.
The country has inoculated roughly 72% of its 16 million population with two doses, putting it well before larger, wealthier neighbors Thailand and Vietnam.
Since the pandemic began, the country has recorded 102,000 Covid infections and a couple of,078 deaths.
A report by the Mekong Strategic Partners consultancy attributed the success of the vaccination drive to a technique-supported location instead of age cohorts, low vaccine hesitancy, compulsory jabs for public officials, and a broad-based approach to procurement.
The lion’s share of Cambodia’s jabs have come from China — Sinovac, and Sinopharm — but the country is additionally using some UK-developed AstraZeneca and American Johnson & Johnson doses.
Schools in some lower-risk parts of the country reopened in the week and Hun Sen said a pilot scheme to reopen the borders to tourists was into account.
Visitors would be exempt from a 14-day hotel quarantine but would need to stay especially in provinces for at least seven days.