Stocked up and ready for booster shots

Top News | Wallis Wang 20 Oct 2021

Hong Kong has secured a sufficient supply of Covid-19 vaccines for booster shots, says Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen ahead of a meeting next Wednesday discussing the need for them.

"We have purchased 7.5 million doses each of Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines, and the supply is sufficient," said Nip, who is in charge of the inoculation program.

But, he added, the "most important thing now is to boost the vaccination rate to 70 percent."

Experts will decide on the booster shots - based on data from the World Health Organization and various countries - and once a go-ahead is given vaccination centers will make arrangements.

The WHO last week backed a third jab for people aged 60 and above who have been injected with Sinovac or Sinopharm.

By Monday, more than 4.56 million Hongkongers had received a first vaccine dose to up the SAR's rate to 67.8 percent.

More than 2.9 million people received BioNTech shots and 1.6 million opted for Sinovac.

The Beijing-based Sinovac company has said adults in the mainland can receive a free third shot six months after a second jab. It said a third shot will enhance the immunity effect of previous vaccinations.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee urged the elderly to get jabbed during a community vaccination event in Tseung Kwan O. Over 300 residents participated in the talks and got a jab.

Separately, authorities put iclub Fortress Hill Hotel, O'Hotel, Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West Tower 1, Lanson Place Causeway Bay and Holiday Inn Golden Mile in the designated quarantine hotel scheme.

There will be 11,500 rooms provided by 40 hotels starting in December.

Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, said the organization has been discussing with officials a new lineup of designated quarantine hotels as the current listing expires at the end of November.

Macau, meanwhile, has reopened the border with Zhuhai. It offers a quarantine-free route for 14 days on entering Zhuhai from Macau.

Over 100 people waited to cross the border yesterday, with some saying they had been stuck in Macau for more than 20 days after borders closed due to clusters on September 26.

Discussions on reopening the Hong Kong-mainland border continues.

Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying weighed in, saying the talks were about the health code in Hong Kong.

"If you don't like it you can just stop visiting the mainland," he said.

But Liberal Party lawmaker Felix Chung Kwok-pan said the government may consider reopening borders with other countries first.

These may include Singapore, Australia and Thailand, which have adopted the "living with the virus" strategy. Some of them, however, have seen a surge in new cases after such a deal with Singapore, which recorded 2,553 new cases on Monday.

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