Over one million doses of the US-manufactured Johnson & Johnson vaccines – donated to Cambodia by the US government – are expected to touch down in Phnom Penh soon to help the Kingdom accelerate its vaccination drive, the US embassy has confirmed.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccines are notable in that they only require one dose to be effective and can be stored and transported using standard refrigeration.
The US embassy said on July 28 that the first batch will arrive on the morning of July 30 at Phnom Penh International Airport, while the second shipment is expected on August 2.
“This donation is part of the United States’ ongoing support for the people of Cambodia and the region as it recovers from this devastating pandemic,” the embassy said in a press statement.
US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy said last week that his government was coordinating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF to ship the vaccines through the WHO-led Covax Facility.
On July 27, the embassy’s charge d’affaires Benjamin Wohlauer sent an invitation to Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng for the reception of the 1,060,100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
“This donation has been made possible through the strong collaboration of the US government, Cambodia’s Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO, Gavi and many others,” Benjamin Wohlauer wrote in the letter.
“The United States government remains a committed partner in improving the health of the Cambodian people. We will continue our efforts to support the Royal Government of Cambodia’s work to prevent further Covid-19 transmission and remediate pandemic impacts on public health and the economy,” he said.
Cambodia had requested four million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from the US on humanitarian grounds in May of this year.
Health minister Mam Bun Heng could not be reached for comment regarding the US-donated vaccines.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Koy Kuong said he did not have any further information besides the fact that the US had committed to providing these vaccines.