Residents fall in line to get inoculated against COVID-19 at the Community Vaccination Centre set up in the Hong Kong Central Library's Exhibition Gallery in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong on Feb 23, 2021. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
About 6,000 people were inoculated at five community centers and 18 general outpatient clinics across Hong Kong on Friday, as the special administrative region’s mass coronavirus vaccination campaign began and the public described the process as “smooth”.
Another 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine-appointment slots will be open for online booking on Monday morning in response to the surge in demand for the shots, said Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip Tak-kuen after inspecting a vaccination center at Hong Kong Central Library in Causeway Bay on Friday.
The first two weeks are fully booked, with 70,000 people signing up to get a shot hours after online registration began on Tuesday
The first two weeks are fully booked, with 70,000 people signing up to get a shot hours after online registration began on Tuesday.
Currently, only people listed among five priority groups are eligible to get vaccinated. The groups are front-line health workers, those aged 60 or older, employees of nursing homes, basic public-services providers, and cross-border transport service operators.
READ MORE: Around 200 in HK vaccinated against COVID-19
Nip said that the government will open three more centers on March 6 to provide Sinovac vaccines, 1 million doses of which arrived in Hong Kong on Feb 19. The centers were among 24 sites scheduled to deliver the Fosun Pharma-BioNTech vaccine from Germany, with the first batch of 1 million shots expected to arrive on Saturday (today), he said.
Also, starting Tuesday, about 1,500 eligible private clinics will offer the Sinovac shots to residents, Nip said.
Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee said that there had been no reported incidents involving Sinovac vaccinations among the over 500 people, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other officials and residents of the priority groups, who received the shots before the vaccination drive opened to the general public.
Tung Chee-hwa, a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie told reporters that they felt well after getting their respective shots at the Central Library’s vaccination center.
Tung, who was Hong Kong’s first chief executive, called on others to get vaccinated so that the city could unite its strength to defeat the pandemic. Leung said she hopes she will be able to visit her family in Beijing after the outbreak is brought under control.
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Local residents who received the vaccine at a community vaccination center at the Kowloon Bay Sports Centre told China Daily they were glad to see the smooth operation at the center.
A 78-year-old woman surnamed Wong said she was excited about getting the vaccine on the first day. Wong said she had confidence in mainland-made vaccines, adding that her daughter, who works at a mainland hospital, strongly recommended the Sinovac vaccine to her.
Calling on more people to get vaccinated, Wong said she hopes Hong Kong will lift travel restrictions after the vaccination program is completed.
A 50-year-old serving member of the disciplinary services surnamed Lam said it is everyone’s duty to get the shots to protect the elders around them.
“It doesn’t take much effort, and we can protect ourselves, as well as our family members and people around us,” he said.
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