Cambodia thanks ‘friend’ China for 1 mil Sinovac shots

Hun Sen says doses will vaccinate 500,000 people, starting with frontliners, his bodyguards, officials around king

PHNOM PENH : China will donate one million doses of its Sinovac coronavirus vaccine to Cambodia, said the kingdom’s strongman prime minister, Hun Sen, thanking “friend” Beijing for its generosity. 

Cambodia has long been a staunch ally of China, receiving billions of dollars in soft loans and investment from the economic superpower.

While many countries reacted early in the pandemic by closing its borders to Chinese travellers, Hun Sen refused, and even travelled to Beijing to meet President Xi Jinping in a show of solidarity.

The prime minister yesterday said China has offered to donate shots made by Sinovac.

China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine has shown to be 91.25% effective in tests conducted in Turkey, but only 50% in more robust trials in Brazil. – AFP pic,

“Friend China is helping us with one million doses,” said Hun Sun in an audio message on his Facebook page, adding that the doses will vaccinate 500,000 people. 

“To prevent the nation and people from being infected with this deadly virus, we have to use vaccines that were already used on Chinese leaders and millions of people… We cannot wait any longer.”

The first to get the jab will include front-line health workers, teachers, soldiers, the prime minister’s bodyguards, and officials around the king, he said.

Sinovac’s CoronaVac was rolled out in Turkey yesterday, after tests there showed it to be 91.25% effective.

But, more robust trials in Brazil have demonstrated an efficacy rate of around 50% – much lower than those of rival shots from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

A third trial in Indonesia – where authorities this week kicked off a mass vaccination drive with CoronaVac shots – showed an efficacy of 65.3%.

Cambodia has appeared to do well in the pandemic so far, registering just 436 cases, though experts say the low numbers are likely due to a lack of testing.

Beijing has also offered to help another nation in the region, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi promising this week to provide 300,000 doses to Myanmar. 

AFP / THE VIBES

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