Govt vaccination programme extended till end of year

The government on Thursday announced the extension of its Covid-19 inoculation programme to the end of the year.

Twenty-one of the 26 community vaccination centres that are currently in use will stay open through December, but with shorter hours and a rest day on Wednesday.

The other five centres will close from November, including the ones being operated by private hospitals such as Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital.

“The private hospitals have their own consideration and I think they have already rendered tremendous support to the government’s vaccination programme, so we expressed understanding. For the remaining 21 community vaccination centres to be operated until the end of the year, I think the overall capacity should be able to meet the anticipated demand for vaccination,” said Patrick Nip, the minister in charge of the vaccination drive, in a press conference on Thursday.

Officials added that more outreach teams will be sent into the community, such as to malls and housing estates, to get more people inoculated.

Nip said steps were being taken to help ease concern expressed by the elderly about vaccination.

“I don’t think the elderly are opposed to vaccination. They have some concerns, especially many of them might have chronic illness and all that. So what they need is some sort of clear explanation from doctors, consultation and assurance from doctors and nurses,” he said.

“The second area is about convenience. So we would make the necessary arrangement to facilitate their vaccination.”

And from Thursday, more people can take the jabs without making an appointment.

These include staff of care homes for the elderly and the disabled, restaurants and pubs, and schools.