Hong Kong: About 6,000 people were inoculated at five community centres and 18 general outpatient clinics across Hong Kong as the special administrative region’s mass coronavirus vaccination campaign began and the public described the process as “smooth”.
Another 200,000 Covid-19 vaccine-appointment slots will be open for online booking tomorrow morning in response to the surge in demand for the shots, said Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip Tak Kuen after inspecting a vaccination centre at Hong Kong Central Library in Causeway Bay on Friday.
The first two weeks are fully booked, with 70,000 people signing up to get a shot hours after online registration began on Tuesday.
Currently, only people listed among five priority groups are eligible to get vaccinated. The groups are frontline health workers, those aged 60 or older, employees of nursing homes, basic public-services providers, and cross-border transport service operators.
Nip said that the government will open three more centres on March 6 to provide Sinovac vaccines, one million doses of which arrived in Hong Kong on Feb 19. The centres were among 24 sites scheduled to deliver the Fosun Pharma-BioNTech vaccine, which arrived yesterday.
Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu Chee said that there had been no reported incidents involving Sinovac vaccinations among the over 500 people, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor and other officials and residents of the priority groups, who received the shots before the vaccination drive opened to the general public.
Tung Chee Hwa, a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi Sie said they felt well after getting their respective shots at the Central Library’s vaccination centre.
Tung, who was Hong Kong’s first chief executive, called on others to get vaccinated so that the city could unite its strength to defeat the pandemic. Leung said she hopes she will be able to visit her family in Beijing after the outbreak is brought under control.
Local residents who received the vaccine at a community vaccination centre at the Kowloon Bay Sports Centre told China Daily they were glad to see the smooth operation at the centre.
A 50-year-old serving member of the disciplinary services who wanted to be known as Lam said it is everyone’s duty to get the shots to protect the elders around them.
“It doesn’t take much effort, and we can protect ourselves, as well as our family members and people around us, ” he said. — China Daily/ANN