South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s take-up rate for Covid-19 vaccination bookings has dropped from 90 per cent at launch to 72 per cent this week, a decline the government has linked to public concerns over a series of medical incidents involving Sinovac jab recipients. Separately, an overnight community lockdown did not uncover any infections following the testing of about 500 people. The lockdown order for Tsim Sha Tsui Mansion was lifted at 7am. It was the second time in a month that all residents of the building in Tsim Sha Tsui were ordered to undergo Covid-19 screening. Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. Civil service chief Patrick Nip Tak-kuen told a radio programme on Tuesday that the decline to 72 per cent in the proportion of people attending their appointments a day earlier reflected public concern about the vaccines, following reports of serious incidents and deaths among people who had received the Sinovac jabs. A third death revealed on Monday sparked new concerns about the vaccines because the 71-year-old patient had no public record of chronic illnesses, unlike the two previous fatalities. An expert committee monitoring the side effects of vaccines in Hong Kong will assess a detailed autopsy report before deciding if his death was linked to the vaccine. The panel earlier concluded there were no direct links between the vaccines and the deaths of two people with chronic illnesses. Nip reiterated that the government took every incident involving recipients of the vaccine very seriously, adding the expert committee would assess each case to ascertain any causation links between the vaccine and their condition. On Monday, 9,900 people received China’s Sinovac vaccine. A total of 103,800 people have been inoculated with either the Sinovac or BioNTech vaccines since the drive launched in late February. Initially, those aged 60 or above were prioritised to get immunised in the city’s vaccination programme. Health care workers, residents and staff of care homes, public service workers and cross-boundary transport workers were also among the first to be offered the vaccine. Asked why Hong Kong started vaccinating people aged above 60 when mainland China had not yet recommended the use of the Sinovac vaccine for that age group, Nip said the city’s advisory panel on Covid-19 vaccines had, after careful assessment, determined the benefits of getting the elderly population inoculated outweighed the risks. “In the past, especially during the third wave of case surges [in July], infections and deaths among the elderly age groups were high,” Nip said. The government on Monday announced it was expanding the vaccination campaign to include seven more eligible groups, covering a further 1.3 million people and taking the total number eligible in the city to be vaccinated to about 3.7 million. Starting on Tuesday morning, people in the new categories can book slots online to receive either the Sinovac or BioNTech vaccines. Covid-19 jabs experts await autopsy report on Hong Kong man’s death A broad range of sectors are included in the widening of the scheme, such as the catering, construction, education, tourism, public transport, and property management industries. The vaccination drive would also now cover people working in businesses that were affected by social-distancing restrictions, such as gyms and beauty parlours. Federation of Beauty Industry chairman Nelson Yip Siu-hong told a different radio station that opinion was split in the industry about getting vaccinated. He noted some beauty industry workers were adopting a wait-and-see approach in the vaccine roll-out before deciding whether to get the shots. President of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, Fung Wai-wah, said he hoped education authorities would not mandate teachers to get vaccinated, leaving the decision to individuals. Last month, the education sector demanded authorities drop a plan tying the resumption of face-to-face classes with their willingness to get regular Covid-19 tests. Hong Kong added nine new coronavirus cases to its confirmed tally on Monday, taking the city’s infection total to 11,099, with 202 related deaths.More from South China Morning Post:Coronavirus: experts say detailed autopsy report needed before deciding whether death of elderly Hong Kong man linked to vaccineCoronavirus: Seven people felt ill after receiving Sinovac jabs, health authorities reveal, as city logs 16 new casesThis article Coronavirus: Hong Kong take-up for vaccination bookings falls after medical incidents involving Sinovac jab recipients first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.