Govt studying how to boost elderly vaccine rate: Nip

Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip said on Sunday that the government was studying whether to allow some elderly people to get the Covid-19 vaccine without first making a booking.

Nip, who’s in charge of the city’s vaccination programme, said less than a quarter of elderly people aged over 65 have been vaccinated so far.

“Recently, the response is enthusiastic and some vaccination centres are often fully booked. But there are still some available slots. We’re studying if we can reserve some quota for the elderly people,” he said on a Commercial Radio programme.

“It has to be well-planned. If we reserve two or more quota, it will reduce the number of time slots open for bookings. I don’t know how many people will come in the end.”

Nip also said officials will be looking at whether other adjustments need to be made at the city’s vaccination centres, but much will depend on vaccination rates over the coming fortnight.

Some 400,000 doses of the BioNTech vaccine are left in Hong Kong, Nip said, and officials will contact the manufacturer to ensure timely deliveries. A new shipment of around 860 000 doses was delivered from Germany on Sunday afternoon.

He said authorities also have full confidence in the Sinovac vaccine, after Singapore decided that those who have received the mainland jabs do not count towards national vaccination targets.

“Both Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines are approved by our health authorities and the World Health Organisation for emergency use. So it’s very clear that both vaccines are safe, with the efficacy and quality,” he said.

Nip said the vaccination rate for the eligible population is now at 41 percent, and it could reach 70 percent in late September.
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Last updated: 2021-07-18 HKT 16:02