Palpitations case not linked to Sinovac shots, medics stress

Top News | Jane Cheung 1 Mar 2021

There was no evidence the mainland-made Sinovac shot administered to a 72-year-old man brought on heart palpitations that saw him end up in hospital, the medical group running the center where he received the jab said.

The man was in stable condition at Queen Elizabeth Hospital last night after receiving the vaccine at Kwun Chung Sports Centre in Jordan on Saturday morning.

Samuel Kwok Po-yin, the center's medical director, said the man has a record of hypertension.

It was about 10 minutes after the inoculation that the man felt palpitations. He was then in the rest area where vaccine recipients stay for 30 minutes for observation.

Kwok said medics checked his pulse and found it to be around 100 beats per minute.

"He had never experienced heart palpitations before," Kwok said. "There were several faster beats in between normal pulses."

Doctors sent the man by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth for more attention as a precautionary measure.

As he understood it, Kwok said, the palpitations were not linked to the Sinovac vaccine "as this is not an intravenous infusion . . . What we fear after vaccination is a serious allergic reaction."

Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, responsible for the vaccination program, said he is concerned about the case. But each vaccination center has a medical support station where doctors and medics are on standby for emergency situations, he noted.

More people went to vaccination centers for jabs yesterday and said they were not deterred after hearing about the case.

A man named Tsang said: "It's probably just an isolated incident." Another recipient, Chau, said officers in the center asked if he felt any discomfort after the jab. "They were very attentive," he said, "but I did not experience anything unusual."

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said over 13,600 people have had a first shot of Sinovac's CoronaVac vaccine and called for all people to get inoculated as soon as possible.

Authorities will start a second batch of online bookings for Sinovac vaccines at 9am today, offering the shots at eight centers and 18 Hospital Authority clinics until March 26 for priority groups - those above 60, medics, cross-border workers, public service officers and care-home staff.

Elderly and disabled residents of care homes will be inoculated by outreach teams.

The new round of registrations has a quota of 200,000. That compares with all 70,000 slots being booked within 16 hours in the first batch of registrations last week.

Priority groups can receive Sinovac jabs from private doctors from tomorrow at the earliest. The vaccine was being delivered to private clinics from today to Wednesday.

Under the program, private doctors offer the jab free. But they collect a government subsidy of HK$80 for each dose administered and an additional HK$40 after the second dose at least 28 days later.

Separately, the first batch of 585,000 shots of the BioNTech/Fosun Comirnaty vaccine arrived on Saturday.

Online booking is likely to start in mid-week and possibly be rolled out in around 20 vaccination centers next weekend.

Dates will be confirmed after authorities finish checking the shipment and prepare the vaccine thawing procedure.

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