The government of Cambodia will provide 500,000 front-line responders with free access to the Covid-19 vaccine, according to an online statement released Monday by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The Ministry of Health is working with the World Health Organization to locate suppliers and determine the cost for one million vaccine doses destined for doctors, nurses, teachers, and police officers, among other high-risk individuals, the statement read.
“The million doses is enough for 500,000 people,” Hun Sen said. “But we have 16 million people, and about 10 million need the vaccine. We hope our development partners will provide aid for our people, or at least sell the vaccine to us at a low price.”
The vaccine is administered in two injections, meaning the first batch of one million doses would be for the half-million front-line responders.
Cambodia could afford only one million doses at this time, the statement said, adding that the government was already searching for other ways to acquire additional doses. The government aimed to purchase another two to three million doses, the statement said.
Russia and Great Britain have both successfully tested vaccines. A vaccine made by researchers at the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has the lowest price, at around $3.35 per dose, according to the WHO.
The government has yet to announce a vaccine supplier. Even so, Yok Sambath, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said the construction of a refrigerated vaccine storage unit was already underway.
The government has also asked the public for donations to help fund further vaccine purchases. As of Tuesday evening, the government had received about $26 million, according to Hun Sen’s statement.
Cambodia has so far recorded 350 Covid-19 cases, with the latest outbreak, the country’s first community-spread event identified on November 28, contributing 34 news cases.