Published: 00:35, March 25, 2021 | Updated: 21:33, June 4, 2023
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Citywide vaccines only path back to normal daily life for residents
By Staff Writer

Opinion polls as well as online bookings for vaccine jabs prove many Hong Kong residents cannot wait to be inoculated because they want life back to normal as soon as possible and vaccination is the only way to do that for the time being.

Figures released by the Department of Health on Wednesday show more than 403,000 people had been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 here in Hong Kong, and all vaccination slots were fully booked through April 14 for both CoronaVac and BioNTech jabs at all community vaccination centers and select government outpatient clinics around the city. 

That said, many others are still reluctant to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 pathogen for fear of serious side effects or even death, although such instances are extremely rare and often caused by preexisting conditions rather than by allergic reactions. As a result, many vaccination slots were wasted in the past few days because many people who had booked did not show up for the jab. This situation, if it persists, will slow down the vaccination drive.

Medical experts around the world agree people with debilitating chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, asthma and serious allergies should consult doctors or family physicians before receiving any vaccine. But they generally believe the COVID-19 vaccines available now are safe for adult people other than those with these medical conditions. There has obviously been excessive fear about vaccine safety, and the spreading of false information about certain vaccines by some unscrupulous medical professionals for political reasons has no doubt contributed to such unwarranted fear. They should be harshly dealt with or even prosecuted if they have broken the law. 

It is common knowledge that the more residents in a city, region or country get vaccinated, the sooner it will achieve herd immunity, which is crucial to return to near-normal daily life and economic recovery. It is frustrating to hear that Hong Kong might need another 300 days before achieving herd immunity against COVID-19, based on the current low inoculation rate.

Residents who are free from unfavorable physical conditions should get the jab as soon as possible. With many residents now hovering on the verge of nervous breakdown by either stress or financial burden, the city is in desperate need of return to normal daily life and a meaningful economic recovery, which are possible only when herd immunity is achieved by getting at least 70 percent of its population inoculated.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.