Asylum seekers, two-way permit holders to get jabs

The government has announced that it will expand its Covid-19 vaccination programme to include mainlanders with two-way permits and refugees.

In a statement published on Tuesday, a government spokesperson said there are some 40,000 mainland residents who hold exit-entry permits, and Covid-related travel restrictions mean some of these permit holders have had to stay in Hong Kong.

The statement said starting from Friday, May 28, two-way permit holders can book a Covid-19 jab from one of the city’s 29 community vaccination centres. Those who make an appointment will need to present their landing slips or extension of stay labels issued by the Immigration Department.

The government said it’s planning to administer vaccines for around 13,000 asylum seekers in Hong Kong at four to six community vaccination centres from July, but said it first needs to conduct a survey with the International Social Service to assess people’s intentions regarding vaccines.

News of the expanded vaccination programme to include asylum seekers was welcomed by the NGO Justice Centre, who earlier this month called on the government to provide free jabs.

The group said in a statement that this was a “welcome development” and it looked forward to working with the relevant stakeholders,.

The announcement came amid concern that the SAR may have to dump some unused Covid-19 vaccines that will soon expire.