Jabs push for elderly sparks talk of hirings

Local | Jane Cheung 27 Jul 2021

More staff should be hired to explain details of Covid-19 vaccinations to elderly people at community vaccination centers, an operator says.

This comes with authorities planning to allow seniors aged 70 or older to get BioNTech/Fosun jabs at the 24 centers offering the German-made vaccine without having to make a booking in advance.

It is understood each center will initially offer 200 vaccinations for walk-ins every day.

Hong Kong Patients' Voices chairman Alex Lam Chi-yau said that quota for the elderly should be flexible.

As of Sunday, only 470,000 of two million residents aged 60 or over had received at least one shot.

The ratio is lower than the SAR's first jab coverage of 3.03 million - 44.3 percent of 6.84 million people above 12 - with 1.83 million getting BioNTech and 1.21 million Beijing-made Sinovac. Of these, 2.24 million have had both jabs.

Ares Leung Kwok-ling of Town Health International Medical Group, which operates a vaccination center in Tseung Kwan O, welcomed the move to administer jabs to seniors without appointments.

"Our center has set up more vaccination stations and we have manpower and equipment to bump up our service capacity," he said. "But we may need to hire more staff to talk to elderly people about the jabs."

Authorities have said 29 centers, including five offering Sinovac shots, will be closed after September.

But people have voiced concerns about the availability of BioNTech jabs and demanded centers remain in operation longer as they are the only places offering the German-made vaccine.

Leung believes authorities could extend the operations of centers if people continue to show willingness to be inoculated.

At the hard end of the pandemic, Hong Kong did not record a Covid-19 infection yesterday - the 49th straight day without local cases. So the tally remains at 11,979 with 212 deaths.

Meanwhile, the 13-year-old daughter of a Saudi Arabian consulate officer remains in a critical condition at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan. She is infected with a dangerous Covid mutation - likely the Delta variant first identified in India.

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