Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference at the government headquarters in the city, on March 10, 2022. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong will ramp up measures to boost vaccination rates among older adults and children, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Friday.
Speaking at the daily pandemic news conference, Lam said the government had been working hard to push vaccination rates since February 2021, yet “those measures were effective, but not enough”, adding that the vaccination takeup rate had dropped after the fourth wave subsided.
When we were hit by the fifth wave, the vaccination rate among the elderly was still pretty low when compared to the Chinese mainland, Singapore and some European cities.
Carrie Lam, Chief Executive, HKSAR
“When we were hit by the fifth wave, the vaccination rate among the elderly was still pretty low when compared to the Chinese mainland, Singapore and some European cities,” Lam said, noting the vaccination hesitancy among older adults and their families had led to the lower rate.
She added that about 90 percent of older adults’ deaths reported during the ongoing wave of infections involved those who had only received one dose of vaccines, or none.
Among older people, 89 percent of those aged 60 to 69 have received at least one dose, compared with 79 percent of those aged 70 to 79, while the figure for those aged 80 or above is 54 percent, civil service chief Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said at the news conference on Friday.
The figures are considerably lower than that of those aged 40 to 49, with 99.94 percent having received at least one jab, logging the highest vaccination rate among all age groups in Hong Kong, he said.
About 6.11 million people aged 12 or above, or 90.8 percent of the population, have received their first dose of vaccine, Nip noted.
However, Nip said progress needs to be accelerated as the percentage of people getting their second dose has yet to reach 90 percent.
He said that the government will focus on boosting vaccinations, encouraging more older adults and children to get inoculated, adding the authorities plan to arrange for the outreach team to visit 1,096 care facilities to give residents at least one dose of the vaccine by March 18.
At present, about 40,000 residents in 970 care homes have been vaccinated, Nip noted.
Since the outbreak of the fifth wave of infections, 722, or 69 percent of the elderly care homes have recorded cases, with 22,070 residents and 5,880 staff infected, official figures show.
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Hong Kong reported 29,381 new cases on Friday, including 10,493 logged through the new online portal for positive rapid antigen test results.
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