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Published: 15:36, May 20, 2022 | Updated: 08:55, May 23, 2022
Adults with high risk of virus exposure 'should get 4th dose'
By Wang Zhan
Published:15:36, May 20, 2022 Updated:08:55, May 23, 2022 By Wang Zhan

In this on Aug 15, 2021 photo, people walk past a government banner encouraging the public to take the COVID-19 vaccines in Hong Kong. (BERTHA WANG / AFP)

HONG KONG - Scientific committees advising the government have suggested that adults aged 18 to 59 receive the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they are at higher risks of exposure to COVID-19.

The two committees – the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases – under Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection convened an online meeting joined by the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel on Friday to discuss the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Hong Kong.   

People aged 18 to 59 without a previous infection but at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, such as traveling abroad and workers in healthcare settings, may choose to receive a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least six months from the third dose, experts said

Having reviewed the latest scientific evidence and local situation, the committees considered that the major aim of COVID-19 vaccine strategy is to prevent severe disease and death due to COVID-19. 

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“Local data showed that three doses of Comirnaty vaccine or CoronaVac vaccine are highly effective against severe disease and death, and the protection is generally maintained at a high level over months,” according to a statement issued by the committees.

The committees said they considered a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine in younger populations may provide “transient additional protection against infection and symptomatic diseases.”

People aged 18 to 59 without a previous infection but at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, such as traveling abroad and workers in healthcare settings, may choose to receive a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least six months from the third dose after considering the individual risk and benefit, the committees said. Such an approach would also be applied for recovered adults in the same age group, they added.

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The experts last month recommended a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 60 years or above as this group forms the majority of local fatal cases in the fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic. 

The committees reiterated the importance of building up immunity against severe disease and death due to COVID-19 in the general population by completing the recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccines to prevent forthcoming epidemic.  

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