Expert urges govt to reassure vaccine safety

Local | 8 Mar 2021 12:55 pm

Medical experts have urged the authorities to take action to help people make informed choices and soothe public concerns over the safety of coronavirus vaccines, RTHK reports.

Two people with chronic diseases were taken into intensive care over the weekend after receiving Sinovac jabs, while two others with long-term illnesses recently died after getting the vaccine.

Government experts have already stated that they don't believe the first death was directly caused by the Sinovac vaccine, and they were to meet on Monday to look into the second death.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, the president of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, William Chui, said authorities should give people with chronic illnesses more information so they can judge whether their condition is sufficiently under control that they can safely be inoculated.

"For the Hong Kong people, it is very difficult to understand what's the meaning of 'controlled'. For example, what are the blood pressure levels of the hypertension, or the HbA1c level of diabetes? So this is very important for Hong Kong people to know that their disease, especially chronic diseases, are under control," he said.

Chui said data from the mainland and Brazil has not directly linked the Sinovac jab to worsening chronic illnesses or death, but experts need to look at whether there are any indirect links, such as possible low-grade inflammation of blood vessels.

Speaking on another show, infectious disease expert Leung Chi-chiu said some elderly people may feel stressed by news of the deaths and hospitalizations and it's important for the government to make people feel safe when they receive the jab.

He said the authorities should release data from other places using the Sinovac jab.

Leung also noted that several thousand elderly people in Hong Kong die of heart disease, stroke or cerebrovascular issues every year.

University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung, meanwhile, said officials should consider using electronic medical records to track people who have received the vaccine, to find out whether there are any changes to rates of diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease in the SAR.

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