Cambodia’s got coronavirus vaccines from China and India, but take-up is painfully slow

Within the US$7 billion garment industry that’s been hit hard by Covid-19, workers aren’t keen on being vaccinated.

Two months after Cambodia launched its Covid-19 vaccination programme with 1.2 million shots made by China’s Sinopharm and India’s Serum Institute-produced AstraZeneca vaccine, the government on Tuesday said garment factory workers, who number about 800,000 and are mostly female, could sign up to be inoculated.

But workers in the industry, which have suffered from fewer orders and disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic and tariffs imposed by the European Union over human rights abuses, remain hesitant to come forward.

Keo Samouen, a local union leader at Phnom Penh’s Quantum garment factory, said the manufacturing line leaders among the 1,000 employees were asked to recruit volunteers for the vaccine. But in private conversations, the workers – who produce swimwear, men’s clothes and lingerie for brands including Marks & Spencer – tell her they didn’t trust it.

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