The government announced on Thursday that children as young as five will need its vaccine pass to enter various venues across the city, including restaurants, from September 30.
Undersecretary for Health Libby Lee said that to qualify for the pass, children aged between five and 11 must either have received their first dose of a Covid jab within the previous three months, or two doses if more than three months have passed since their first jab.
The eligibility requirements for people aged 12 and over will also be tightened from September 30.
Those who received a second dose more than five months before will need a third shot for their vaccine pass to continue to be valid. At present, people are given six months to get the third dose.
From November 30, everyone aged 12 and above will need to have had three jabs and children aged 5 to 11 must have received two if they want to keep using the vaccine pass.
As well as restaurants, the pass is required to go into shopping malls, department stores, markets, supermarkets, sports premises, swimming pools, places of worship, gyms, various types of salons, and a range of entertainment venues.
Lee said the government will study whether its LeaveHomeSafe app can be updated so parents can save their children's vaccination record there, alongside their own. Children will also be allowed to use a paper record to show venue staff their vaccination status.
The undersecretary was asked whether the vaccine pass requirement will restrict children’s rights and hinder their development.
“I absolutely agree that a long-term effect on children when they are deprived of social contacts, or social activities, or outdoor activities would actually affect their development,” she said.
“In order to normalise their daily life, so as to maximise their opportunities to go outdoors, to increase their social activities and at the same time protect their health, the way out is to bring them for vaccination.”
Lee announced the new requirements as Hong Kong recorded 10,910 new local Covid infections and 181 imported cases.
Twelve more patients with Covid have died. They were aged between 69 and 101.
The Hospital Authority said 2,790 Covid patients were being treated in public hospitals. Forty-eight of them were critically ill and 39 in a serious condition.
The authority also announced that Central Kowloon Health Centre will be made a designated Covid clinic from Friday and all general out-patient services there will be suspended.