Published: 14:19, December 2, 2020 | Updated: 09:24, June 5, 2023
HK govt plans free COVID-19 vaccination for all residents

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong government is planning to provide free coronavirus vaccines for the city’s 7.5 million residents when they are available, the city’s health chief said on Wednesday.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee made the remarks when answering a query from lawmaker Jeffery Lam Kin-fung at the Legislative Council. She said priorities would be given to health workers, senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses. The priority groups are expected to involve some 3 million residents, Chan said.

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Relatively large scale administration of the vaccines can only be expected in the latter half of 2021.

Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health, HKSAR govt

She said the government would propose to provide the vaccination free of charge and the vaccination would be on a voluntary basis.

“The government has earmarked HK$10 million for promotion and will strengthen publicity and education through various channels,” Chan said.

She also reiterated that the government has set aside funds enough to procure vaccines twice the size of Hong Kong’s population.

There were 48 COVID-19 vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials as of Dec 1, said Chan, quoting information from the World Health Organization. Out of them, 11 have entered phase 3 clinical trial.

The first vaccines are expected to be available next year but the supply would be limited, Chan said.

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“Relatively large scale administration of the vaccines can only be expected in the latter half of 2021,” she added.

Hong Kong is combating its fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreaks. The city reported 82 cases on Tuesday, 72 of which were locally transmitted. The infection tally for the financial hub stood at 6,396, with 109 related deaths.