‘More needs to be done to achieve herd immunity’

Health Secretary Sophia Chan on Sunday said she is still hopeful that Hong Kong’s Covid-19 vaccination rate could be further boosted.

She was commenting on a recent uptick in inoculations, with around 60,000 shots being given each day.

Speaking on a radio programme, the health chief said judging from the current trend, it’s estimated that about half the population would have taken the jabs by September.

When asked if that means herd immunity is unachievable in the city, she admitted that more work needs to be done to encourage the public, especially elderly people and frontline workers, to get vaccinated.

“Fifty percent is not enough if we’re talking about building herd immunity. Many of our experts said at least it should be 70 percent,” she said.

“But I think if this momentum can be kept as well as improved, for example, the special groups, the elderly group, the young people as well as different groups in the frontline who would be benefitted more if they get vaccinated. If these groups come forward and take the vaccine, I think the vaccination rate can be further increased but I think more work would need to be done.”

More than 2.3 million people, or around one-third of the city’s population, have taken at least the first dose of the vaccine.

Chan again urged people not to hesitate in getting the shots, saying social distancing restrictions and border controls can be further relaxed if there is a higher take-up rate.