Chan opens the door to jabs for non-residents

Local | Jane Cheung 13 May 2021

People who do not have the status of residents but have lived in Hong Kong for some time could be allowed to have Covid-19 vaccinations under an SAR program, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said.

That was in response to a question by Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator Ben Chan Han-pan, who pointed to the predicament faced by mainlanders who are here on two-way and family-visit permits and have been allowed to extend their stays during the pandemic so they can take care of their families.

However, they are not eligible for vaccination under the current mechanism, which only inoculates permanent SAR residents.

Sophia Chan said in a written reply that authorities have received inquiries and requests for vaccinations of non-Hong Kong residents since the launch of the SAR's vaccination program on February 26.

Authorities are looking into the situation, she noted.

As of Tuesday, over 1.1 million citizens had been inoculated, with 704,600 having taken both shots.

Of these, 486,000 opted for the Beijing-made Sinovac vaccine and 614,500 for the German-made BioNTech/Fosun vaccine.

Chan said the goal "is to provide vaccines for the majority of Hong Kong residents within 2021 through the government-led vaccination program."

The Food and Health Bureau also revealed that the HK$1 billion vaccination indemnity fund has received 11 applications for payouts. The SAR has recorded 33 post-inoculation deaths among 2,660 adverse events.

A 26-year-old construction worker Lam, who suffered facial paralysis after a Sinovac jab on March 24, said he will be seeking compensation.

He fainted on the same day he was vaccinated and was treated at Tseung Kwan O Hospital for seven days. He has had to undergo physiology exercises but has yet to regain full control of his left eye and mouth.

Lam's condition fits requirements for help from the fund, and he is expected to receive a maximum compensation of HK$120,000.

But Lam said that will be insufficient as he cannot return to work fully.

The compensation mechanism classifies applicants into two age groups, 39 or below and 40 or above.

The highest compensation is HK$3 million for someone under 40 suffering serious health consequences. The amount for cases involving death is HK$2.5 million.

For people of 40 or above, the compensation for a serious health consequence is HK$2.5 million and HK$2 million for a death.

Also from yesterday, arrivals who are fully jabbed with one of 10 vaccines recognized in Hong Kong can enjoy shorter quarantine after waiting 14 days.

Apart from the two brands in use here, the other eight are AstraZeneca/SK Bioscience, Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, CanSinoBIO, Janssen, Moderna, Serum Institute of India, Sinopharm/Beijing Institute of Biological Products and Sinopharm/Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.

All arrivals have to be tested and await results.

Inoculated arrivals from low-risk countries are quarantined at hotels for seven days rather than 14, followed by seven days of self-monitoring and a test on the 12th day after arrival.

Quarantine in hotels for those from medium- and high-risk places is reduced from 21 to 14 days, followed by seven days of self-monitoring. There are tests on the 16th and 19th days after that.

The arrangement for people from very high-risk places remains unchanged, and flights from extremely high-risk places are still banned.

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