A medic holds a vial of China's Sinovac COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as she prepares to give a vaccination at the Community Vaccination Centre in Hong Kong on February 22, 2021. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)
Hong Kong established a monitoring mechanism for COVID-19 vaccinations, including an online report system for inoculation anomalies, as the free and voluntary vaccination program opens for registration on Tuesday for five high-risk groups.
Front-line medical staff, those aged over 60, cross-boundary train drivers and port staff, are among the 2.4 million people eligible to get inoculated with the Chinese mainland’s Sinovac vaccine
Front-line medical staff, those aged over 60, cross-boundary train drivers and port staff, are among the 2.4 million people eligible to get inoculated with the Chinese mainland’s Sinovac vaccine. One million doses arrived in the city on Friday, and the first round of vaccinations starts on Feb 26.
Another million doses of the BioNTech vaccine were expected to arrive in Hong Kong on Feb 28.
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Last Wednesday, the HKSAR government proposed to the city’s legislature to earmark HK$1 billion (US$129,000,000) for a COVID-19 vaccine indemnity fund, which would provide compensation of up to HK$3 million to anyone who may suffer serious side effects.
Speaking at a news briefing on Monday, Edwin Lam, chief pharmacist of the Department of Health’s Drug Office, said a panel of more than 10 medical experts from local universities, the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health will assess any advsers side effect that may arise from vaccination.
Lam said that local health professionals are required to report relevant adverse events through a designated website.
The data, including the number of vaccinations, adverse events, and serious events, will be uploaded on the government’s website and updated every two weeks, Frank Chan, assistant director at the Department of Health, said at the news conference.
He estimated that the data would be available by mid-March.
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The University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Medicine will also lead a three-year COVID-19 vaccine monitoring program, initiated by the Department of Health.
It will invite 1,500 volunteers for each type of vaccine and follow up with regular phone calls and use big data analytics to evaluate the association between any adverse events and vaccines under the program.
As the COVID-19 vaccines were researched and developed quickly, Chan said it was necessary to further monitor any adverse events that may be linked to the vaccines.
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