Special Message of Samdech Techo Hun Sen,​ on Receiving One Million Doses of COVID-19 Sinopharm Vaccine from the People’s Republic of China [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV:

My worship to holly Buddhist monks and our dear compatriots!

One Million Doses of Vaccine from Chinese Friend

Today I need to inform our compatriots that the Government of the People’s Republic of China, through the Ministry of National Defense of China and the Ministry of National Defense of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has provided one million doses of the (Covid-19) vaccine for 500,000 people. Originally, I said that we would only accept donations or purchase vaccines approved by the World Health Organization. But so far the World Health Organization has not given any country or company a vaccine recognition. At the same time, many countries are already using many different vaccines, including those of the People’s Republic of China, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

For the need to defend our nation and protect our people from this deadly epidemic, we can no longer wait. We must use the vaccine that has already been applying on Chinese leaders, millions of Chinese people and some other countries, including Indonesia, where even the Indonesian President also received the jab of the vaccine from the People’s Republic of China. Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country after China, India and the United States. Indonesia uses the vaccine of the People’s Republic of China. We have also received information that Malaysia and the Philippines will also use the (Chinese) vaccine. It is also used in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. As a result, tens of millions of people have already been vaccinated with the Chinese vaccines.

Chinese Vaccines: Used by No Less Than 10 Countries and Appropriate Storage Conditions

In this regard, I would like to say that we can no longer wait because of the need to protect the health of our people, which (as of) yesterday, there were up to 15 people found Covid-19 positive and up to 10 more cases today, all from neighboring Thailand. As this vaccine is already widely used in the People’s Republic of China and in no less than 10 countries with large populations, and judging by its storage conditions – at temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, compared to the vaccines of some countries, at temperatures of -70 degrees, it is appropriate to the situation in Cambodia. Apart from this problem, it is also convenient to transport from the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Our Chinese friend also asked (if we would like to have) “this 1 million doses all at once or in stages?” This issue needs to be considered further but I would also like to suggest that those who were first to be vaccinated may be those around me, […] those around His Majesty the King, those around the President of the Senate, and around the President of the National Assembly.

More Vaccines from China and/or Others for Reasonable Prices/Suitable Administering Conditions

In addition to the first one million doses that we will inject it to 500,000 people in the front line, as I have already mentioned, we need to buy or request more from the People’s Republic of China or any other countries in terms of reasonable prices, as well as our ability to store them at a suitable temperature. To sustain vaccines at minus 70 degrees or 80 degrees is rather beyond our management ability. The point I am making here is that we are reversing what I said last time about accepting only vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization. If we look at countries with a population of more than 1.4 billion people, from the People’s Republic of China to Indonesia, to Egypt, Brazil and so on, they dare to use the Chinese vaccines without hesitation, even the Indonesian President who was the first to receive the Chinese vaccine.

I would like to inform you that the vaccines produced in China used in China and outside of China are Sinopharm and Sinovac. This time, we will now get the Sinopharm, the one used in Egypt and then we could proceed to use of Sinovac. But we also do not rule out accepting aid from other countries that wish to help us […] under conditions where we can use them efficiently, as well as transport and store them within our management capacity.

Boost Vaccination to Reach Up to 80% of Population

I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency President Xi Jinping, His Excellency Premier Li Keqiang, as well as His Excellency the Minister of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China for their support to and through the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. We will use on all front-line units, for whom we previously planned to buy, as we have the one million doses in hand now. We will continue our efforts to vaccinate about 10 million people, or even up to 13 million if required, an equivalence of 80 percent of our population. There could be, however, a reduction to even 60 or 70 percent of the population, and we will release our budget either to buy or to find/receive through assistances. First of all, our Chinese friends have helped us with the one million doses in a generous gesture and good relationship with the Kingdom of Cambodia.

PM’s Bodyguards and Staff to Get the Jabs, Then Front Liners

I urge our Buddhist monks and compatriots to calm down. We will get the vaccines soon. I have discussed with commanders of my bodyguards and we have decided that the Bodyguard Commanders, the bodyguards, and those who work around me will be the first to receive the jabs. (Then) we will arrange for the front line workers, especially the team of doctors, teachers, all kinds of armed forces, the judicial police in all divisions, all the sanitation staff involved in providing services, including motorbike/tricycle/taxi drivers to receive the vaccines free-of-charge and on voluntary basis. This is a principle that we must continue in our vaccination plan. I am confident that this vaccine will help us solve some of the problems, although we do not yet know the exact effect. Not only Chinese vaccines but also vaccines in every countries so far, we do not yet know how long will they last.

Jabs on Chinese Leaders Effective

However, I learned that some Chinese leaders had been jabbed since October, when the Chinese Foreign Minister visited the Kingdom of Cambodia in October 2020. The Chinese foreign minister confirmed that he had already been vaccinated. And at that time, if I were willing to accept, our Chinese friend would give me the vaccine immediately, but we are still waiting to see the effectiveness of the vaccination process. So far, Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China is in good health and can travel places. He is now visiting Southeast Asia region, following his visit to several African countries. Thus, the experience of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, a key leader of the People’s Republic of China, gives us confidence that there is no risk to human life for the Chinese vaccine. Some countries have used both the US vaccine and the British vaccine, and nothing has happened.

Vaccine for Free and on Voluntary Basis; Donation for Vaccines Purchase No More

Therefore, it is enough for Cambodia to make a political decision to save the lives of our people. Still I insist that we will be vaccinated free-of-charge and on a voluntary basis. On the other hand, even if you have the jabs, please continue to maintain the three protections: wearing mask, washing hand and maintaining a safety gap of one and a half meters.

I would like to thank the People’s Republic of China for donating the one million doses of the vaccine. Thanks our people, Buddhist monks, especially Their Majesties the King and the Queen Mother, for their donations for the same of purchase vaccines. We have received enough money donated for vaccines and I am announcing that we stop accepting donations as of now. That we have gotten this vaccine now, we also have some money to spare for other needs of our country. I hope that though this is the first time, but it is not the last, in China’s ability to help the Kingdom of Cambodia. Thank you./.