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Slow Uptake of Booster Shots in Capital

Phnom Penh: Unlike the first and second phases of the capital’s vaccination campaign, when hundreds of thousands of adults rushed to get their shots, the capital’s booster shot campaign is off to a much slower start. To date, about a million of the capital’s two million adults have come forward for a third dose. So how are people feeling about getting a third shot of vaccine?

The Booster Shot Campaign started on Monday this week with a launching ceremony led by Defence Minister Tea Banh. He declared that 3,500 troops are helping 152 medical teams across the capital. On the first day of the Booster Shot campaign, in 11 of Phnom Penh’s 14 districts, almost 58,000 residents went to get their third-dose. On the second day, that number had increased to 90,000, but it seems there’s not as many people coming forward as was expected.

It’s believed many residents of the capital still need to wait for the end of the 4-month waiting period from their initial vaccination. It’s also thought some factory workers are also still waiting to be given a paid day off to go and get their third dose, even though government has asked factory owners and directors to facilitate this.

Either way, those who did arrive for their booster shots on Wednesday were more than happy. David Ridge, whose been living in Cambodia for 30 years spoke to EAC News:

“I’m very happy, I’m very pleased that we are going to get the Booster shot. I thank what Cambodian government have done, compared to other countries, even the western countries… They are not keeping up with Cambodia. It’s a very fine job that the government is doing. I think people are getting complacent, because now the numbers of Covid is coming down, so people think, why should we have a third shot? But I’m afraid this is wrong. You take your third shot”.

Another man told us that some people he knows are afraid of the side effects of the vaccine:

“Some people when they get injection, they get pain or they get sick or something like that. That’s why hey sometime they get afraid of that. But when people finish their first and second injection they can also see there’s no problem with that. That’s why all the people should start to trust and believe this has worked.”

Heal Marn told EAC News that she doesn’t believe enough people are aware of the booster shot campaign:

“I think some people know about it and some not because they just got their second dose or first dose and some people haven't got their first dose yet.”

At the Phnom Penh Referral Hospital, people filled the Vaccination Center one by one, looking forward to receive their Booster shot. The line wasn’t as long as when the government rolled out the first and second dose vaccine campaigns, but officials at the hospital told us they’re hopeful the lines will get longer as the week progresses.

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