Members of the public wait for their COVID-19 shot at the Wong Tai Sin Temple Square Community Vaccination Station on Oct 12, 2022. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s health chief on Wednesday authorized the pediatric and toddler formulation of Comirnaty vaccine for emergency use in the city, as health authorities registered 4,788 new cases of COVID-19 including five of sub-lineage XBB.
Of the new infections, 4,420 were locally acquired while 368 were imported, according to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health.
The Hospital Authority meanwhile reported death of nine people diagnosed with COVID-19.
Having regard to the advice of the Advisory Panel and having considered the threat to public health posed by COVID-19, the Secretary for Health considered that the authorization is necessary and is in the public interest
The authorization for the Comirnaty vaccine came after the Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines opined that the benefits of authorizing the use of pediatric and toddler formulation of the vaccine for protecting against COVID-19 outweigh the risks under the current epidemic situation.
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Having regard to the advice of the Advisory Panel and having considered the threat to public health posed by COVID-19, the Secretary for Health considered that the authorization is necessary and is in the public interest, according to a government statement issued on Wednesday.
The government is waiting for the vaccine manufacturer to provide the schedule and information on the supply of the pediatric and toddler vaccines, said a government spokesman.
“In the face of the threat posed by the highly transmissible mutant virus strains, children are among our focuses of protection in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program,” the spokesman said, urging parents to arrange vaccination for their children as early as possible.
Of the locally transmitted cases recorded on Wednesday, 3,043 cases tested positive through rapid antigen tests while 1,377 by nucleic acid tests, said the CHP.
The Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the Department of Healthhas identified five additional cases of sub-lineage XBB among the imported cases in Hong Kong. The city so far saw six cases of sub-lineage XBB and one case of BA.2.75.2 among imported cases.
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Since beginning of the pandemic, Hong Kong has recorded 966,653 and 849,479 cases that have tested positive by nucleic acid tests and RATs respectively, it added.
The Hospital Authority meanwhile said in a separate statement that 1,621 patients, including 222 new ones, are currently undergoing treatments at various public hospitals.
Thirty-one patients are in critical condition while 23 are in serious condition. There are three newly reported critical patients and as many newly reported serious patients, the statement added.
More jab venues
The SAR government announced on Wednesday that nine additional COVID-19 vaccination venues will be set up progressively at locations with convenient transport or high patronage this month to provide convenience to members of the public.
Secretary for the Civil Service Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan (first right) is briefed by Ares Leung, the person-in-charge of the medical partner of the Wong Tai Sin Temple Square Community Vaccination Station (second left), during a visit to the CVS on its first day of operation on Oct 12, 2022. Looking on is District Officer (Wong Tai Sin) Steve Wong (first left). (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
Seven additional Private Clinic COVID-19 Vaccination Stations (PCVSs) will open from Oct 18 to administer the Sinovac vaccine for people aged six months or above and the BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12 or above,
From 9 am on Oct 13, residents can make reservations for free vaccination services through the booking system on the COVID-19 vaccination program website.
Of the two other vaccination venues, the Wong Tai Sin Temple Square Community Vaccination Station (CVS) started serving the public on Wednesday, while the government will set up the Java Road Playground CVS at 363 Java Road in Quarry Bay from Oct 31. Online reservations will be available from 9 am on Oct 25.
The two vaccination stations – open daily from 9 am to 6 pm – will provide both the Sinovac vaccine and the BioNTech vaccine.
HONG KONG NEWS