Once it became apparent that nothing else was likely to bring the coronavirus under control sooner rather than later, the availability of vaccines had seemed like a relatively straightforward answer. That is not necessarily so. For example, at Hong Kong’s government vaccination centres, a number of elderly people who have preregistered for inoculation are asking staff on the day whether they should go ahead and have it. With the vaccination being voluntary, they are being redirected to their family doctor for advice. That raises another question, where do elderly people without family doctors seek such advice? This has partly prompted doctors’ groups to say, rightly, the government should issue guidelines as to who can and should have one of the vaccines. Uncertainty among the elderly has contributed to a worrying fall in the rate of vaccination take-up, or attendance at appointments to have the jab. Officials have revealed that the proportion of people turning up for vaccination appointments has fallen from 90 per cent at the launch of the programme last month to around 70 per cent. This has been put down to reports of serious health complications and four deaths among those who had received Sinovac jabs, though no clinical evidence of a link has been established. It is not clear from the popularity of some vaccination centres compared with others whether location is an issue when it comes to attending appointments. That said, people are asking where they can get proper medical advice before taking the jab. The importance cannot be overestimated. People with underlying medical conditions could easily think, or be persuaded by well-meaning people, that vaccination against the coronavirus avoids a further risk to their health, rather than possibly adding to it through side effects. There is no one at the vaccination centres to tell them it is safe, or to inform and reassure them about side effects. The situation is confusing, especially for the elderly. At the end of the day a decision whether to be vaccinated is both personal and voluntary. That leaves plenty of room for clearer guidelines for the elderly amid uncertainty, and more transparent information about documented health incidents after vaccination.