Global Health & Medicine 2023;5(2):92-98.
COVID-19 vaccination program in Cambodia: Achievements and remaining challenges
Nozaki I, Hachiya M, Ikeda C
Since Cambodia has been recognized as one of the low- and middle-income countries with a successful COVID-19 vaccine program, its program approaches were reviewed based mainly on press articles and announcements from the Ministry of Health. From the beginning, the government's proactive approach to securing vaccines and its flexibility prior to WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) contributed greatly to the success of the program. Vaccines were provided by COVAX and other countries, but more than half of the vaccines secured were Chinese vaccines purchased with government funds. The rollout of the vaccine has also been flexible, moving from a strategy of prioritizing risk groups and essential workers to one of expanding the campaign from population centers to rural areas, as well as gradually expanding the target age group, eventually targeting the population age 3 and older. As a result of this high level of commitment by the government and its flexible response, Cambodia has achieved 95% primary series coverage of the entire population, including those not eligible for vaccination. Although the sixth booster is now being administered in Cambodia and vaccination every six months was recommended, several challenges might be anticipated in continuing this program, including the lack of clear global guidance on how to sustain and modify the COVID-19 immunization program and vaccine fatigue after COVID-19 outbreaks have been controlled. How these challenges are overcome and how the COVID-19 vaccine program remains need to be carefully observed into the future.