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France’s Ousmane Dembele in action with Hungary’s Attila Fiola Pool at the Puskas Arena in Budapest during a Euro 2020 match on June 19. The rapid roll-out of the vaccine programme in Hungary meant that the stadium could host fans at full capacity. Photo: Reuters

Letters | Vaccination is the world’s best shot at returning to normalcy

  • It has been clear from the early days of the pandemic that our route out of social distancing is a global vaccination programme, but the world is only 16 per cent of the way to full protection. Hongkongers must do their bit to end the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to massive challenges, puncturing our bubble of normalcy since January 2020. People across the globe have been forced to address a vast array of daunting changes.

In times of crisis, such as this pandemic, we ought to follow the call of higher principles. Since early 2020, restrictions on social interaction – now commonly known as social distancing – have been implemented. It has been clear from the early days of the pandemic that our route out of the restrictions is a global vaccination programme.

As it stands, more than 2.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally, about 315 million of which have been administered in the United States alone. Canada currently leads the global effort, with more than 60 per cent of its citizens having received at least one dose of the vaccine as of mid-June, breaking a record previously held by Israel.

But with a global population of 7.8 billion, and two doses required to secure the highest available level of protection, the world is effectively only 16 per cent of the way to full protection, which is far from satisfactory.

At Euro 2020, the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary, welcomed a whopping 61,000 spectators – that’s full capacity – to the nation’s opening match against Portugal. Wembley Stadium in London, on the other hand, reached just 25 per cent capacity for England’s first match against Croatia, and the UK has delayed the plan to lift all remaining restrictions on June 21 by four weeks, in response to the spreading Delta variant.
Here in Hong Kong, we are experimenting with adjustments to restrictions based on vaccine status. A tranche of measures was introduced in late April, allowing more people to gather at banquets or dine in restaurants if every guest had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Tie Covid vaccines to Hong Kong voucher scheme and nightlife

Unfortunately, as vaccine scepticism continues to prevail, these relaxed restrictions have been inadequate in boosting vaccination. Lucky draws are being offered to fully vaccinated residents by a wide variety of firms and at least one political party, in the hope that economic incentives would do the trick.
Hongkongers are very fortunate in that we have an abundant supply of free vaccines and can receive a vaccine of our choosing. Whether you take part in the lucky draws or not, I urge the Hongkongers who are still hesitating to grasp this opportunity to get vaccinated before our doses expire – for their own good and for societal welfare.

Adrian Ho, founder, Save HK