The Covid-19 vaccination programme was launched in February with a clear goal – to provide safe vaccines for most of the population within 2021. However, as circumstances changed over time, so did the strategy. With carrots such as lucky draws for free flats apparently losing their appeal, officials say they will not rule out the stick approach, such as banning the unvaccinated from going to restaurants and shopping malls. Whether the jab would ultimately become mandatory remains to be seen, but the target remains the same – to inoculate as many as possible so that there will be sufficient protection to phase out restrictions and bring life back to normal. The latest aim to get everyone vaccinated has raised many questions. The presence of anti-vaxxers and those who are medically unfit for a jab has made the goal difficult, if not unrealistic. It has taken half a year to get 60 per cent of the eligible population to get the first dose. Even though the city recently hit a milestone of getting half of the eligible fully vaccinated, millions are still shunning the jabs. Unvaccinated Hongkongers may face restrictions ‘if fifth wave hits’ No country has fully vaccinated every citizen. In France and elsewhere, the jabs have become a prerequisite for riding public transport and going to restaurants and other such places. But a medical expert has warned that making the jab mandatory may backfire here because of local circumstances. It may also deprive the needy of the services they require. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday clarified that the restrictions for the unvaccinated would only apply if there was another major outbreak. Meanwhile, the government should continue to encourage the elderly and some other groups to get vaccinated and persuade them that it will benefit all of society. Despite the introduction of walk-in jabs earlier, only 35 per cent of those aged 70-79, and 11 per cent of those aged 80 and above have received the first shot. This is partly because many are still worried about possible adverse side effects. This can be addressed by giving them more access to information from medical professionals. Young citizens can also help explain and convince their parents and grandparents that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Hopefully, a stronger immunity barrier can be built to bring life back to normal.