Hong Kong to Provide Free Covid-19 Vaccines From Mid-2021
What’s new: The Hong Kong government is planning to provide free vaccines to the entire population with three million people being prioritized and due to receive them as early as mid-year in 2021.
Sophia Chan, the secretary of Food and Health Bureau said Wednesday at the conference of Legislative Council, “Vaccination is crucial for Hong Kong to resume normal life, and our goal thus is to offer free vaccines to the whole residents in Hong Kong.”
The plan came as multiple vaccines were released overseas showing high efficacy in their clinical trials, while infection numbers have been soaring in the city’s fourth wave of coronavirus.
The U.K. on Wednesday became the first country to authorize the Covid-19 vaccine by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.
The Hong Kong government is taking a two-pronged approach for procurement of vaccines. It has spent HK$4.6 billion ($593 million) to purchase vaccines from the WHO-led global vaccine-sharing program COVAX to protect 35% of the population who are classified as the most vulnerable group in the society.
At the same time the government is considering purchasing at least two types of vaccine in advance from different developers to meet the needs of the rest of the population.
What’s more: The government explained that the double dose is to safeguard against the possibility of either vaccine candidate failing to reach the market.
The government has no choice but make the double purchases due to the fierce competition to buy the potential vaccines on the global market, Chan said. The government is also trying to figure out a plan for residents to take the shot voluntarily while ensuring the vaccination is free.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong reported 103 new daily cases, 97 of which were locally transmitted.
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