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Cambodia has started a Covid-19 vaccination drive for children aged from six to 12 years.

Children, assisted by their parents or legal guardians, queued outside vaccination

centres on Friday in the capital city Phnom Penh as they waited to receive the first shot of the jab.

Speaking at the launch event, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the vaccine is free of charge and made on a voluntary basis, saying that the country has almost 1.9 million children in this age group.

"We have to take a step forward to protect our children's lives and to enable them to return to schools safely," Hun Sen said.

"If we can not reopen primary schools for our children, it is like losing the foundations of our education system."

With its total population of 16 million, Cambodia first launched a vaccination campaign for 10 million adults in February and then for nearly 2 million adolescents aged from 12 to 18 in August.

To date, 98 per cent of the adults have received at least one vaccine dose, while 54.8 per cent others are fully inoculated, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said.

It added that 87.5 per cent of the adolescents have received their first shot, and 62.8 per cent of them have been fully vaccinated.

Almost all of the Covid-19 vaccines used in the country's immunization campaigns are China's Sinovac and Sinopharm.

The World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Cambodia,Li Ailan said the country has made its really impressive progress in its vaccine rollout.

"The country is setting a very good example to put its great efforts in suppressing virus transmission, saving lives and minimising social disruption," she told Xinhua.

"Cambodia's efforts and achievements especially its vaccine rollout is highly commendable."

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