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Govt to issue guidelines for taking Covid-19 jab

11 March 2021

By The SUN 

Chief Executive Carrie Lam observes the public rollout of the BioNTech vaccine

Health officials say they are in talks with medical specialists on releasing guidelines on what various groups of people should consider before taking a Covid-19 jab, amid reports of a number of people getting ill after getting vaccinated.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Chui Tak-yi confirmed the plan during the regular press briefing on the coronavirus situation on Thursday, Mar 11.

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Chui said the move is being taken in response to feedbacks from those who have taken the coronavirus vaccine, that they need more clinical information about the possible side effects of the inoculation.

He did not give a date for when the new guidelines would be issued, but several media reports said this could happen as early as Friday.


Chui, however advised two groups of people who should first consult their family doctor or a specialist, before booking an appointment for a Covid-19 jab.

The first are those with records of severe allergy, or severe allergic reactions to any drugs. The second are those with chronic or other diseases and are unsure of whether they should get the vaccine.


“Please do not make appointments without first consulting a family doctor or an immunologist, or an expert in allergies,” he said.

Chui confirmed a government statement that 150,500 residents have been given their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.


Of these, 121,500 had the Sinovac jab, while about 9,000 got the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, which was made available to the general public for the first time yesterday.

Whatever uncertainties people might have about possible side effects, they should still get vaccinated, Chui said. “The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks,” he said.


Despite such assurances, many people who had booked appointments for taking the Chinese-made Sinovac appeared to have developed cold feet.

According to government figures, only about 72 percent of those who booked appointments to get Sinovac turned up Wednesday.

 A high 91% of vaccine applicants showed up to get their BioNTech jab

In comparison, 91% of those who signed up to get the German-made BioNTech showed up for their appointment.

The turnout for Sinovac was at a low 64 percent on Tuesday, in the wake of reports that a third patient had died after taking the vaccine.

An expert panel advising the government on post-vaccination symptoms has so far ruled out any connection between the deaths of the patients and their having taken the vaccine.

Panel co-convenor, Prof Ivan Hung, told a radio show Wednesday night that those suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes are prone to side-effects.

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Hung said those who suffer shortness of breath while exercising, or have long-term bad effects such as smoking should reconsider getting the jab.

The same is true for those who suffer from constant high blood pressure at levels higher than 160/100, or with elevated blood sugar levels.

Under the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program which was launched on Feb 26, residents can currently choose the vaccine from either Sinovac or BioNTech. A third, vaccine, AstraZeneca, is expected to arrive in the second half of the year.

Sinovac has not released as much data about its vaccine as other drug companies, particularly from its late-stage clinical trials on its effects on people aged 60 years old and above.

It also has a relatively efficacy rate of between 50.65% and 62.3%, which is achieved only after the second dose.

BioNTech vaccine, on the other hand, has been shown to be 95% effective, and according to the World Health Organization, is safe for people with various medical conditions.

However, Sinovac advocates claim the Chinese-made vaccine is safer as it was created using the traditional way, using an inactivated form of the virus.

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