Don't obsess over care home jab rate: expert - RTHK
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Don't obsess over care home jab rate: expert

2022-01-28 HKT 09:45
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  • Don't obsess over care home jab rate: expert
An expert in geriatric medicine said on Friday that people shouldn't "obsess" about vaccination in care homes, and officials should study why so few residents have had jabs.

Jean Woo, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University, made the comments on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme, after officials launched a drive to increase vaccination rates at care homes for the elderly and disabled, including moving to prevent unvaccinated people from moving in.

Woo said it was more important to ensure that people who move extensively around the SAR, including children, get a jab, as they were more likely to spread the virus. She said there was no scientific evidence of long-term protection for frail elderly people.

"These people are not going to move anywhere. They will stay in their home," she told RTHK's Samantha Butler. "And then a lot of them, because they are frail, their response to vaccines is muted, so you don't really know whether the vaccine's going to create a sufficient level of protection, and how long for."

Woo also said it made no sense to link the end of the SAR's dynamic zero-Covid policy to a particular level of vaccination, as the vaccine did not prevent transmission of the virus.

"If the whole target for relaxing zero-Covid is vaccination then that argument doesn't make sense because people who are vaccinated can get Covid. So why do we obsess about reaching 90 percent or 99 percent?

"If you look at all the people coming in from airports, a large majority of people who test positive have been double or triple vaccinated."

But speaking on a separate radio programme, the chairman of the Elderly Services Association Kenneth Chan warned that any elderly home outbreaks could have dire consequences, as only around a fifth of residents are vaccinated.

He hopes the latest government measures can boost the vaccination rate at elderly homes to at least 70 percent.

Announcing a series of new Covid measures on Thursday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said medical personnel would visit all care homes to assess whether residents are able to receive the jab, and to offer the vaccine to those who want it.

She said that from a certain date ahead, people who haven't been vaccinated will not be able to take up places in care homes.

Last updated: 2022-01-28 HKT 11:15