Govt to launch scheme to boost elderly vaccine rate - RTHK
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Govt to launch scheme to boost elderly vaccine rate

2021-07-24 HKT 12:27
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  • Civil service chief Patrick Nip says the new scheme would allow senior citizens to get Covid shots without making an internet appointment. Photo: RTHK
    Civil service chief Patrick Nip says the new scheme would allow senior citizens to get Covid shots without making an internet appointment. Photo: RTHK
Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip said on Saturday that authorities will launch a scheme by this month to make it easier for the elderly to get vaccinated, amidst a low inoculation rate for the age group.

Speaking on an RTHK progamme, Nip said only 28 percent of people aged 60 or above have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, and the rate is even lower for those aged 80 or more – at six percent.

He said the government will launch a scheme shortly to allow seniors to receive jabs at community vaccination centres without having to make an online appointment.

The programme will be initially available for seventy-year-olds and older, and it will open up to those who are sixty and older later, Nip said.

Under the scheme, each of the 20 or so vaccination centres will provide a daily quota of 200.

Nip noted that more people have booked appointments to get vaccinated recently, and slots for some centres in the coming days have already been fully reserved. He said the government is now looking into increasing the number of slots for vaccination.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-kwong, said he hopes a new round of outreach vaccination services at elderly care homes would encourage more senior citizens to get vaccinated.

Law said elderly residents might have been reluctant to receive vaccines over the past few months due to a lack of information. With clearer guidelines now in place, he hopes more would change their minds.

“We have just started another round, providing more information, simpler information, telling people that if they have been using the flu vaccines all the time, now they can use these [Covid] vaccines. So we hope that the simplified message will help people to make up their minds to do their vaccination,” he said.

The official also brushed aside suggestions that the government was trying to force care home staff to get vaccinated by shortening the period of time they must get tested from every ten to seven days.

Authorities announced earlier this week that caretakers who have not been fully vaccinated must get tested if they will be working at care homes during the week from August 4 to 10.

Law said the decision was based on science, as the average number of days for the onset of symptoms for a variant virus is three to four days, and getting tested every seven days is already too long.