Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Wednesday that the government is planning to provide free coronavirus vaccines for everybody in Hong Kong, starting off with the three million people deemed to be most at risk or vulnerable.
Chan told the Legislative Council that receiving a vaccine would be voluntary, adding that the government has set aside HK$10 million for promotion and education work.
She also told lawmakers that regulators in the SAR would prioritise the registration of coronavirus vaccines when they become available.
“We will speed up the vetting procedures while ensuring the vaccines’ safety, efficacy and quality… Authorities will take all necessary measures to allow the use of any vaccine which is proved to be safe and effective. We will not rule out introducing emergency legislation when necessary,” she said.
The health chief said three million people are expected to be vaccinated first, including medical workers, elderly people, patients with chronic diseases, and care home workers.
Chan cited information from the World Health Organisation as saying that experiments are being carried out on 48 Covid-19 vaccines, 11 of which are undergoing final clinical trials.
She said vaccines produced on the mainland and overseas were being considered by the SAR government.
Chan added that the government is planning to buy two doses of Covid-19 vaccine for every resident, with the vaccines coming from at least two different manufacturers.