The government says its inoculation programme against Covid-19 will be open for bookings next Tuesday, with the first jabs expected to be administrated on February 26.
At a press conference on Thursday, Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip – who’s responsible for the vaccination scheme – said one million doses of the mainland-manufactured Sinovac vaccine will arrive in the SAR on February 19, while another million shots from the German firm BioNTech will be available by the end of the month.
He said several groups of people prone to developing serious symptoms as well as those who are at high-risk of transmitting the virus to vulnerable people will be invited to be vaccinated first.
Nip said a total of 2.4 million people who are aged 60 or above, medical staff, care home residents and workers, as well as those providing essential services, like postmen, or people working at the border will be given priority to get the shots.
A maximum of two people accompanying elderly persons aged 70 or above can also get vaccinated first.
Nip said the first batches to arrive will only be enough to inoculate a million people, given that two doses are required, but he believes “not everyone will get the shot immediately”.
“Different surveys have reflected how people feel about getting vaccinated... I believe it will be common that people adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach,” he said.
Meanwhile, Health secretary Sophia Chan urged people to get vaccinated, saying the shots are safe and effective.
“If more people are getting vaccinated, it would be faster to achieve herd immunity,” she said.
The jabs will be available at 18 government clinics, 29 community vaccination centres, as well as some private hospitals and more than 1,500 private clinics.
Twenty-four of the community centres will offer the BioNTech jab and five centres – in Causeway Bay, Kowloon Bay, Jordan, Sha Tin and Tin Shui Wai – will provide the Sinovac one.
Medical personnel will also administer the vaccines for elderly and disabled people living in residential care homes.