Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen mentioned Monday that the nation is unable to make use of coronavirus vaccines from the United States as a result of storage of the vaccine requires an ultra-cold freezer.
The prime minister made the remarks in a speech on the opening of a water remedy facility within the capital Phnom Penh. Cambodia presently lacks the capability to retailer the vaccine developed by Pfizer, which have to be saved at between -80 and -60°C (-112 to -76°F).
“We would accept the help of [a vaccine] from the U.S., but the vaccine needs to be stored at below 76°F, so Cambodia cannot use it,” Hun Sen mentioned.
“If the U.S. wants to help, please send money instead as Australia has, so Cambodia can purchase the AstraZaneca vaccine,” he mentioned.
The British-Swedish developed AztraZaneca vaccine will be saved and transported at temperatures between 2 and eight°C (35.6° to 46.4°F)
The prime minister additionally mentioned that he wouldn’t be the primary within the nation to obtain the vaccine from China as he had mentioned beforehand, saying he would like that medical personnel obtain it earlier than him.
“I previously emphasized that when the Chinese vaccine arrives in Cambodia, I would go to the airport to welcome it and I would get the first shot. But the problem is, the person injecting the vaccine will not have received it yet,” he mentioned.
“Let us ask the prime minister of Singapore and the president of Indonesia who have received the vaccine. If they got their shots from doctors who themselves hadn’t received it first, I will follow their example,” mentioned Hun Sen.
The prime minister mentioned Cambodia will obtain its first batch of 600,000 vaccine doses from China this month.
The Chinese vaccine rollout has been marred by security considerations. The New York Times reported in November that three of 4 Chinese candidate vaccines in late-stage human testing had at the moment been made obtainable to tens of 1000’s.
The BBC reported in January that though one in all China’s vaccines have been accepted for emergency use since July, part three trials in a number of totally different nations confirmed broadly differing efficacy fee, with Brazil initially saying it was 78 p.c efficient solely to revise the determine to 50.4 p.c as extra knowledge got here in.
Cambodians ought to keep away from Chinese vaccines, as they aren’t formally acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), a former member of the National Assembly from the banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) advised RFA’s Khmer Service.
“I appeal to Khmer people not to get the hazardous Chinese vaccines. Let’s wait a little bit longer. I believe that when the developed countries produce enough vaccines, they will help to provide us with their safer alternatives,” Gnem Nheng mentioned.
Cambodia has confirmed solely 466 instances of the virus inside its borders with no deaths.
As Cambodia doesn’t face grave hazard, the nation can afford to attend, San Chey, the manager director of the Cambodia workplace of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA) advised RFA.
“We don’t need to be hasty. We should take time to study our options thoroughly. It is not bad to wait a bit longer. We are not in an emergency or in panic mode compared to other countries. This means we are still under control,” San Chey mentioned.
Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sok Ry Sum. Written in English by Eugene Whong.