Firms urged to offer body checks instead of prizes

A patients’ rights activist on Thursday urged Hong Kong businesses to help pay for grassroots people to have body checks to see whether they are healthy enough to receive Covid-19 jabs.

Alex Lam, who chairs the group Hong Kong Patients’ Voices, told an RTHK programme that he’s worried people who are unfit to be inoculated will get jabs anyway because they want to be in with a chance of winning prizes offered by various businesses to those who are vaccinated.

“For people who are worried, or those who became unwell after the first shot, they may go after the high prizes and take the second shot as well. We really don’t want to see anything going wrong because of that. If their health was impaired because they took the risk, it cannot be compensated with money,” he said.

Lam noted that the government encourages people to consult a doctor if they are concerned about possible side-effects of the vaccines, but said poor people may not be able to afford to see private doctors, and may have to queue for a long time if they use the public healthcare system.

He noted that some businesses are sponsoring people to undergo body checks for vaccination and said more enterprises should follow their lead.

“The government isn’t providing any assistance in this respect, and this is an obstruction. I am happy that some organisations are – instead of holding lotteries – providing a subsidy for people to do body checks before they are vaccinated… I think the money involved would not be small,” he said.

“So if businesses are holding lucky draws for vaccinated people to win properties worth 10 to 20 million dollars, why not allow thousands of people to consult their doctors – which is more practical and a safe thing to do?”