University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung has called on the government to let people receive booster shots against Covid-19 as soon as possible if it wants to reopen the border.
Speaking on an RTHK programme on Monday, Ho noted the mainland has updated its guidelines for coronavirus vaccines, recommending that everyone aged 18 or above should get a third jab.
“I believe the reason behind it is not only to prevent serious symptoms, but that more and more evidence is proving that booster shots would help prevent Covid-19 infections and outbreaks,” he said.
“So, I believe Hong Kong has to think in that direction if it wants to be in line with the mainland. It has to be as proactive in terms of the inoculation drive as well,” he added, noting that mainland authorities have updated their vaccination policy for two months while Hong Kong doesn’t even have a proposal yet.
Ho added the government should also let people choose whether to receive a third jab, and whether they want to get Sinovac or BioNTech for a booster shot.
“The biggest problem in Hong Kong is that people don’t get to choose. Some people may have done antibody tests and some may have chronic illnesses that undermine their immune system’s reaction to the vaccines. Doctors can give a detailed explanation and recommendation, but the vaccination framework at present doesn’t give them any choice,” he said.
He said the US, Israel and European countries are already allowing specific groups of people to choose to get a booster shot, and Hong Kong can make reference to their arrangements.