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Booster shots given to Sinovac recipients to raise antibody levels

20 August 2021

By The SUN

Top officials who were the first to get Sinovac jabs in HK may need booster shots (File) 

Local researchers have begun giving booster shots to fully inoculated Sinovac vaccine recipients with low antibody levels to find out whether there is a need to give Hong Kong residents a third jab.


This comes as two new confirmed Covid-19 cases, both imported and fully vaccinated, were reported by Hong Kong health officials today, Aug 20.

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Health Department staff said the two patients, a 53-year-old man who returned from Germany on Aug 16, a 30-year-old female air crew who arrived from Russia on Aug 18, both carried the L452R variant. They are both asymptomatic.


The man received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine in Hong Kong on Apr 14 and May 5, while the woman received two jabs of Sputnik V in Russia on Jul 1 and 22.

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The man was found infected on his third day of hotel quarantine while the woman tested positive on arrival test.

Meanwhile, Chinese University experts said a study they conducted among 160 people who were fully vaccinated by Sinovac showed they had low antibody levels a month after completing the two doses.


Lead researcher David Hui, who is also a government adviser on the pandemic, said in a radio interview that a low antibody level could mean reduced protection against a symptomatic infection of the coronavirus.

Hui says the low antibody level could mean lower protection against symptomatic infection

Hui said this may be because Sinovac is an inactivated vaccine.

But he said their research, which also included a number of people who received the BioNTech vaccine, showed both vaccines are able to generate T cells, which lower the risk of severe symptoms and deaths.


The researchers plan to give a booster shot of either vaccine to a randomly chosen group of 80 people to find out how the additional jab would affect their antibody level. The first group of 31 had their third dose on Wednesday.

Hui said the research team should be able to publish the first results of their test in October. But he said the project will run for three years, with participants regularly monitored for antibody levels.

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