Doctors, care home staff fear jabs will be mandatory - RTHK
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Doctors, care home staff fear jabs will be mandatory

2021-02-19 HKT 11:42
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  • Arisina Ma says it would be unreasonable to require medics to get vaccinated before allowing them to work. Photo: RTHK
    Arisina Ma says it would be unreasonable to require medics to get vaccinated before allowing them to work. Photo: RTHK
Medical staff and care home workers on Friday called for clarification that they won't be punished or barred from going to work if they choose not to get inoculated against coronavirus.

Medics and care home staff are among the 2.4 million people who are being given priority for the shots, with the government's vaccination programme due to begin on February 26.

The head of the Hong Kong Public Doctors' Association, Arisina Ma, said while authorities want more medics to be inoculated, they should make sure that vaccinations will be entirely voluntary.

"We have tried to clarify with the headquarters of the Hospital Authority. The chief executive said they also agree that mandatory vaccination is not agreed by the law or ethically... For any invasive therapy or invasive things that require mandatory measures, it must be very, very safe and very, very efficacious. But I don't think that any one of the current vaccines can reach this standard yet," she said.

Ma also urged authorities to make sure that it is convenient for busy medical workers to get the jabs if they want to do so.

"When we look at the previous flu vaccination data, medics are not those [who are] very keen on getting the jab in the very early period of time... Try to arrange the injection, for example at where they work and during their working hours, to make sure that they don't need to make another visit to one of those designated centres," she said.

Ma added that the Hospital Authority told them that it would be easier to make arrangements for the injection of Sinovac jabs, which is easier to store, but she hopes medics will also have the option of choosing BioNTech vaccines as well.

Meanwhile, the Community Care and Nursing Home Workers General Union said it was also worried about whether care home staff will truly be free to make a choice on whether to take the vaccines or not, saying staff can only comply if their bosses require them to get the jabs before allowing them to work.

It said some care home workers are also concerned about potential side effects and the origin of the vaccines.