Vaccination Planned for another Two Million Adolescents (12-17 Years Old)
Dear compatriots, especially grandchildren and great-grandchildren,
I mentioned a few days ago regarding vaccinations for people under 18 years of age. I discussed with His Excellency Aun Pornmoniroth, Deputy Prime Minister and Permanent Deputy Chairman of the National Commission for Combating Covid-19, His Excellency Vongsey Visoth, Chairman of the Commission for Vaccine Procurement, and Lok Chumteav Or Vandin, Chairman of the Commission For Vaccination. We need to vaccinate children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 after the vaccination process for people aged 18 and over (completes), whom, as of this moment, we have vaccinated 5.4 million of them (over the target ten millions already). (We have to take one further step forward on this matter) with serious consideration for the social surrounding and immunity, and consideration for the future of children and youth. Especially, we are focusing on their welfare. (We aim to) reopen schools, since (the closing of) which marked a huge loss for the world as well as for Cambodia, for human resource training after schools have been closed for a long time.
We Could Have about 22 Million Doses of Vaccine in Real
It is true that we have a need for vaccinations for children and young people from 12 to 17 years old, whereby, according to the statistics (provided by) HE Aun Pornmoniroth, there are about 1.9 million people, which I would round it up to around 2 million people. We need four million or more doses of the vaccine for our children and adolescents. In such a situation, I have ordered for search of vaccine, which so far we can be sure to have about 22 million doses. (To include also figures promised) in aids, we have about 31 million doses. However, we cannot be sure of promises that have not yet materialized.
Two Options for Vaccinating Children and Adolescents
I have instructed His Excellency Vongsey Visot, Lok Chumteav Or Vandin, to (keep) searching for vaccines so that we can ensure timely inoculation for our people, who are in the process now. The point injection is ongoing on more than 4 million people to reach the target figure of 10 million. There is another option, though. We can launch vaccinations for our children and youth at the same time, by starting in Phnom Penh and Kandal province, as we have done in the past. This is an easy point for us in the vaccination process.
We can have two options. The first option is to finish vaccinating the 10 million adults over the age of 18 and then start the injection for children and adolescents. The first option is to finish one thing and then move on to another. The second option, however, is that while the immunization continues in the provinces for more than 4 million people, we can also start the immunization process (for children and adolescents) starting from Phnom Penh and Kandal province. We take the same measures as we did to deal with the situation as before, including Phnom Penh, Kandal, and then Sihanoukville. We should proceed in such a way that we did in the past.
Parents/Guardians to Bring Children for Vaccination
The doctors who are already on mission at the places would be able to provide injection (as planned) since the number of children and adolescents (of this age group) is small. For example, in Phnom Penh and Kandal province, once the injections (for people of 18 yaers old and above) are completed, the medical staff there will be able to inject our children and youth without the intervention of the army or volunteer doctors. The latter should be able to leave for mission in other locations. I would like to take this opportunity to call on parents and guardians of children and youth to be ready to bring their children for vaccination when the time comes.
Achieve Social Immunity to Reactivate Socio-economic Activities
We want to achieve immunization in society in order to proceed to reactivate socio-economic activities, especially the schools that we have closed and are now on online learning mode. This is a loss for us. If we had vaccinated children and young people, at least we could have opened a secondary school where children and young people 12 and older could go to study. They could maintain social distance, the distance in the classroom, unlike those in the elementary school who would not yet know how to wear a mask and do not know how to protect themselves by keeping distance.
Vaccines Prevent Infection: Infection Was Not Severe, Mortality Rate Not High
We can do that with children and young people between the ages of 12 and 17. They know how to keep their masks on, to maintain social distance, and, on top of that, their immunity would not put them in serious condition as those without the vaccination, should there be an outbreak of Covid-19. The experience that we have gradually found so far is that people who are vaccinated help prevent infection, and if infected, it does not lead them to serious illness or death at a higher rate than those who have not vaccinated. I urge the Phnom Penh Capital Hall, Kandal Province, to prepare for the vaccination of children and youth in these two provinces, as well as Sihanoukville, which is an infected area and prioritized for vaccination.
Reserve Vaccine for People Turning to 12 Years of Age
The Ad-hoc Commission for Vaccination must work with the target provinces for the vaccination goal. The Commission on Vaccine Procurement also needs to work with countries, especially the People’s Republic of China, to secure vaccines for approximately 2 million children and adolescents, for whom we need an additional 4 million doses. We must not forget that while injecting those in their 12 years of age, in a few months, we will have more turning up to be twelve – (I mean those in their) 11 years of age coming up to 12 years old. Therefore, we must have vaccines ready for people who will turn up to be 12 years of age.
Vaccinated or Not Yet, Implement Three “Don’ts” and Three Preventive Measures
The injection is based on a voluntary principle, with no coercion. However, confidence of our people (in the vaccines) shown as many coming for vaccination, including those who are 90 years old and over 100 years old. Eight people over the age of 100 have gotten their vaccination. They need vaccination to protect themselves. Based on this belief, and because the parents of the young children have already been vaccinated, there is no risk at all. (They) will actually bring their children and grandchildren for vaccination. We must also not force children who are afraid of needles to get it. We also need to find other ways to prevent it. I would like to emphasize that vaccinated or not vaccinated, we must observe the health measures, especially the three “Don’ts” and three preventive measures to avoid possible infection.
I sincerely hope that our country, after vaccinating the 10 million people aged 18 years and older, we (will be able to) vaccinate another 2 million people aged between 12 and 17 years old. Therefore, (to reach) immunity in society will be easier, giving us the opportunity to reopen the socio-economy, especially the reopening of general education – from secondary to high school, and to college. We can do it. I am hopeful that our people will make further contribution for the sake of health of the individual, each family, and the health of our community as well as our nation, against the worsening Covid-19 disease.
Search for Vaccines, Vaccinated – To Protect Oneself, Families and Communities
No country has completely eradicated Covid-19. The difference now is maybe some have fewer or more infections, fewer and more deaths. I hope that we Cambodians can do what we have already done successfully. We will continue to work successfully to protect the health of our people by seeking vaccinations, by vaccinating efforts, by engaging our people to get vaccination for defense of each individual, for protecting families and communities. Thank you./.