'Doing our part' say first youngsters to get jabs - RTHK
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'Doing our part' say first youngsters to get jabs

2021-06-14 HKT 13:32
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  • 'Doing our part' say first youngsters to get jabs
Children as young as 12 years old were getting their first shots of the BioNTech vaccine on Monday – with some of those at vaccination centres speaking about how they wanted to do their part to help things return to normal.

Monday was the first day that children aged 12 to 15 were able to get the jabs, after appointments for the age group opened last Friday.

Authorities had announced the extension of the inoculation programme last week, but only the German-made BioNTech vaccine is available for the younger age group. The mainland-developed Sinovac vaccine is only available to those aged 18 and up.

One 15-year-old who had his vaccination at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Centre told RTHK getting the jab was very quick and staff there had been helpful.

He said he wanted to get the vaccination because he plans to return to Europe over the summer, and hopes to return without needing to undergo quarantine.

“It’s a very small percentage of people who have very severe side effects, so I’m confident,” he said. “It’s also to just do my part to vaccinate, and hope that I don’t infect other people and they don’t infect me – that way we can all go back to normal soon.”

“I think we need to do our part for this, we all need to get vaccinated if we can, and I think Hong Kong is giving a big opportunity to everyone,” the boy’s mother said.

“In Europe, people are dying… they really want a vaccine. India is also very bad. We are glad to be here, and we are glad that the government is providing all this for everyone,” she added.

Another 15-year-old at the same vaccination centre said he wanted to get the jab at the first opportunity as there might be a shortage of vaccines later.

“I just want to help because after getting vaccinated we can get back to normality earlier,” he said.

A teenager that RTHK spoke to at the Kowloon Tong vaccination centre said she wasn’t too worried about side effects, as the rest of her family didn’t have any symptoms when they were inoculated.

“I think most of my classmates are getting it, also as soon as possible, because some of them are travelling and so if you get the jab, you have one week less of quarantine. And most of them want to go see their families in the summer,” she said.

“I believe we need to have the vaccination so we can progress to the next level, and the whole country, the whole world, can move on,” added her mother, who is a doctor.

Hong Kong launched its Covid-19 vaccination drive at the end of February, but the take-up rate has been sluggish and hopes of reaching “herd immunity” – with around 70 percent of the population inoculated – have wavered.

Latest government figures show that just over a quarter of the city’s population has had their first dose of the two-dose regimen, and just under a fifth have been fully vaccinated. Around 40,000 doses have been administered per day over the past week.

Officials are urging people to vaccinate as soon as possible, and a ticker on the government’s Covid vaccine website says there are just 79 days remaining for people to get the first dose of a vaccine at a community vaccination centre.