A specialist in respiratory medicine said on Thursday that he believed more people would be willing to receive coronavirus vaccine once the inoculation programme is rolled out, although various surveys suggested a low acceptance rate.
Previous polls showed only between 30 and 40 per cent of Hong Kong people would get the jabs, but Dr Leung Chi-chiu said he believed their attitude would change over time.
He said he expected the public to become less worried about the vaccine’s safety as more people get inoculated.
“For something new, I think the initial acceptance may be low. That should not be a major issue because the priority groups account for about 2.4 million people. And we only have sufficient vaccine in the initial stage for one million,” he said.
“If we can roll out the programme successfully, I’m certain that the attitude will change with time. As time goes, there will be further data not only from abroad but also from the local application. That should relieve the anxiety of people who might be worried about the vaccine’s safety profile.”
He noted that an expert panel appointed by the government has yet to decide on whether the vaccine produced by mainland drug maker Sinovac can be given to elderly people aged over 60.
He said the decision would affect how quickly protection could be offered to elderly people living in care homes here.
“This is crucial because this vaccine does not require the super cold storage syringe. They can be more easily handled by the outreach teams. If they can be applied for the elderly, they can be quickly utilised to cover our old age homes,” he said.