The head of the Hong Kong Doctors Union on Wednesday backed the government's decision to annul vaccine pass exemption certificates issued by seven private doctors accused of issuing them without holding medical consultations.
Some 20,000 people affected by the move will lose access to places covered by the vaccine pass in two weeks' time, unless they get a new exemption certificate or Covid jabs.
Henry Leung, the union's president, described the cancellation of the certificates and the two weeks' notice for those affected as reasonable.
"I don't think it's a case where the government is targeting the medical sector," he said on an RTHK programme.
He added, however, that doctors will be under pressure now when asked for exemption certificates, especially when it's not completely clear-cut whether or not a patient should avoid Covid jabs for medical reasons.
Alex Lam, who chairs the rights group Hong Kong Patients' Voices, agreed with Leung, saying the arrest of the seven doctors has had a chilling effect on the profession.
He said the large number of exemptions the seven doctors are accused by police of approving shows there is a market for the certificates.
Lam said he understands that some people have been refused exemption certificates even though public hospital doctors consider them to be unsuitable for Covid vaccines.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer said people holding invalidated exemptions will receive a message on their LeaveHomeSafe app informing them when the certificate is no longer being accepted.
It said officials will use a list of names provided by the Department of Health to send out the messages.