Caution also required as city pushes ahead with jabs
- Despite several serious medical incidents, the benefits of receiving vaccinations against Covid-19 far outweigh the risks, and those who are worried should consult a doctor first
Vaccination against Covid-19 is the only way to return life to as it was before the pandemic and rejuvenate the economy. Authorities are pushing ahead with the immunisation drive despite concern about several serious medical incidents and have enlarged the scope of the programme to cover almost half of the city’s 7.5 million people.
It is the right call; until proven otherwise, the benefits of receiving the jabs outweigh the risks. Through strict supervision and monitoring and thoroughly investigating adverse cases and being transparent, we can be assured of the safety of the programme.
It has still to decide on the other cases. Full investigation and monitoring of the immunisation programme are essential to ensure confidence.
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Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pointed out the city’s reality yesterday after returning from Beijing, saying vaccination is important to bringing the epidemic under control and resuming travel to the mainland and overseas. But it is also key to turning around business and assuring jobs while allowing a resumption of usual activities. Hong Kong is in a fortunate situation in that healthy supplies of vaccines are arriving, enabling the immunisation programme to gather pace. While the number receiving jabs since the scheme was rolled out on February 26 is barely 100,000, there will be a substantial expansion now that 1.34 million shots of the BioNTech vaccine have arrived to supplement the 1 million from Sinovac.
Authorities therefore announced yesterday the expansion of the programme to include workers in seven more priority groups amounting to 1.3 million people to take the total eligible to receive jabs to 3.7 million. They include those working in the catering industry, transport, tourism, wet markets and businesses such as fitness centres and beauty parlours.
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The government’s strategy to protect as many people as possible who have regular contact with the everyday population makes good sense. Those targeted have to take the opportunity to get vaccinated as soon as possible, for their own well-being as well as those they serve.
But the rush to vaccinate cannot come without caution. People with serious health conditions should think twice about getting a jab; they need to first consult a doctor to see if they are suitable candidates.
Vaccination centres often have medical practitioners on standby to answer questions, but such places are not clinics and are unable to offer health assessments. The onus of whether to get a shot or not is up to the individual, not authorities.