CE hopes to expand booster programme next month

Chief Executive Carrie Lam says she has instructed officials to expand the Covid booster programme to cover people who have received the BioNTech vaccine as the world races against the spread of the Omicron variant.

At present, people who had a second dose of Sinovac at least six months ago or those in priority groups can get boosters, and so far 260,000 booster shots have been administered.

Speaking on Tuesday ahead of the Executive Council meeting, Lam said authorities will hopefully begin giving booster shots at the beginning of next month to people who’ve received two doses of BioNTech.

She noted Hong Kong has been able to pick up seven imported Omicron cases either at the airport or while the patients were being quarantined, but added overseas and local experts all agree that vaccination is still the most important and effective way of containing the coronavirus.

“Every government is now on the alert to prevent Omicron from spreading into their community. In the case of Hong Kong, of course, we are particularly alert because we have basically attained zero in the local situation, and we are right at the moment preparing to resume some normal travel into the mainland, which is the number one priority of many people in society,” Lam said.

Lam said experts advising the government on the pandemic will discuss details.

Meanwhile, Lam said a delegation led by Chief Secretary John Lee will meet later in the day with mainland officials in another round of talks over quarantine-free travel arrangements.