Foreign diplomats in Cambodia get COVID-19 vaccine shots hinh anh 1Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh is vaccinated against COVID-19. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– The Cambodian Ministry of Health on March 23 began a COVID-19 vaccination campaign for staff members of foreign embassies and consulate generals, and representatives of international organisations in the country.

The vaccination is taking place at the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh from March 23-26.

Staff members of the Vietnamese Embassy are the first among foreign diplomats in Cambodia to receive the vaccine shots.

All of the 90 people vaccinated on March 23 are in a stable condition. 

According to the ministry, between February 10 and March 13, Cambodia administered Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines to more than 170,000 Cambodians.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on March 19 said the ministry will organise a15-day AstraZeneca vaccination campaign for over 50,000 people from the age of 60 in all districts in Phnom Penh.

In a document dated February 24, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also said all foreign nationals who are currently residing and working in Cambodia can get vaccinated against COVID-19 at no charge in accordance with Cambodian COVID-19 vaccination plans.

Last December, Hun Sen said the Southeast Asian nation has planned to inoculate between 10 and 13 million people, or about 80 percent of the population.

Meanwhile, the Thai government on March 22 started human trials of a domestically developed coronavirus vaccine and expects to deploy it next year, which its health minister said could give the country more freedom with its vaccine policy, according to Bangkok Post.  

The home-grown vaccine candidate is being developed by state drug maker, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO), with Mahidol University's Tropical Medicine Department and an American non-profit and uses an inactivated virus to trigger immunity.

The Thai vaccine candidate modifies the avian Newcastle Disease virus with a COVID-19 spike protein and is replicated using egg-based technology, the GPO said.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the vaccine would give Thailand more options with less constraints.

Another homegrown vaccine is being developed by Chulalongkorn University and uses Messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. It is expected to start human trials soon.

Malaysia on March 22 announced it had established a 2.4 million USD compensation fund to provide cash assistance for any COVID-19 vaccine recipients who suffer severe reactions due to inoculations, the CNA said.

Malaysia has inoculated nearly 430,000 frontline workers, with the majority having received the first of two jabs of the vaccine jointly developed by US company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.

Under the new fund, individuals requiring extended hospitalisation due to a vaccine reaction will be eligible for 50,000 RM (12,171 USD), or 500,000 RM if this results in permanent disability or death, Health Minister Adham Baba said.

The minister said health authorities had recorded 20 instances of adverse reactions to vaccination as of March 18, with symptoms ranging from itching to shortness of breath and palpitations.

"There have not been any deaths linked to the vaccine," Adham told a news conference, without specifying the type of vaccine he was referring to.

Malaysia's vaccination drive began on February 23 using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with authorities only starting to administer the vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech on March 18./.