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Thousands line up as HK launches much-awaited antivirus shot

26 February 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao

One of the main vaccination centers is the Central Library in Causeway Bay

Thousands of people lined up for the first day of the free mass inoculation against coronavirus at five vaccination centers and 18 general out-patient clinics  across Hong Kong today, Feb 26, using China-made Sinovac doses for a start.

Tomorrow, the vaccine from German company BioNTech is expected to arrive after a delay of two days, and government officials said it would be made available immediately to the public as well.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

Today’s public rollout was said to have gone smoothly despite fears by some people, including migrant domestic workers, about the efficacy and possible side-effects of the Sinovac vaccine.

According to a statement from the government, the response to the free jabs had been so enthusiastic that all 70,000 slots for the first two weeks were taken up on the first day of online appointment booking.

Pindutin para sa detalye

To cope with demand, online booking through the designated website ( will be opened again starting at 9am on Monday, Mar. 1.

Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip said another 200,000 slots would be made available for booking starting on this day.

Health Secretary Sophia Chan talks with one of the early birds in Central Library

Within the first month, a few hundred thousand people from priority groups – those aged 60 and above, medical and other frontliners, and residents and staff in care homes – would have received their first shots of the vaccine. Each of these qualified residents is allowed to have a maximum of two caregivers signing up for the jabs with them.

A second dose (on the 28th day after the first shot for Sinovac) is required for the vaccine to reach its full efficacy.


As tens of thousands of Hongkongers rushed to be among the first to get the vaccine, Filipino domestic helpers remain divided between those who are confident of the shot, and those who fear the unknown.

Comments to a report on The SUN Hong Kong about the FDHs’ views on the inoculation shows that among a sampling of 110 readers, 53 said they will go for the vaccine, 44 said they won’t and 13 were undecided.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Those who favored the jabs said they were aware of the possible side-effects but added that the vaccine would boost their defenses against the virus.

Some of those who replied “no” cited reports of patients contracting Covid-19 after vaccination, while others said they won’t go for the shot because their employers won’t.

A few simply refused to go, saying they would just wear masks than “risk their lives.”      

Sinovac jabs will be distributed early next week to more than 1,000 private doctors who are taking part in the program.

The jabs are not required for anyone, even for those who do frontline work, but recent surveys showed that all but a small percentage of medical workers are keen to get vaccinated.

Most are said to favor Sinovac, which was today made available to three centers previously designated for the BioNTech vaccine – in Tseung Kwan O. Kwai Tsing and Tuen Mun.

Meanwhile, lawmakers approved today a $1 billion fund for indemnifying recipients of the vaccine who would have serious health complications or die from the injections.

The highest payout will be $3 million. Individuals under 40 who suffer serious side-effects will get $2.5 million, while those over 40 will receive $2 million.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said setting up the fund does not imply the Covid jabs are unsafe to use. It just means that the authorities are preparing for the worst if there is any complication.

She said she expects the $1 billion fund will not be fully used.

Chan added that the authorities had not received any unusual reports from the more than 500 people who queued up for the Sinovac vaccine on Monday. They included Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her key officials, as well as members of the Executive and Legislative Councils.

HK's first Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa takes the jab

Today, those who took the jab at the Central Library in Causeway Bay included two former chief executives, Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, and former justice secretary Elsie Leung.

The Department of Health said tonight it is closely monitoring potential adverse events after the vaccinations by putting in place a mechanism to watch out for any adverse side-effects to the recipients.

The DH has established a pharmacovigilance system to receive and assess reports of adverse events submitted by healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry and conduct causality assessments to find out whether the side-effects due to the vaccines. 



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