COVID-19 vaccination expected to start in February — gov’t minister

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Residents may be immunised against COVID-19 as early as February based on the estimated arrival of the vaccine supply, a government minister said Saturday.

Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip posted on Facebook that the government’s goal is to complete preparatory work by the end of January for the arrival of the vaccine.

The government earlier secured a total of 22.5 million jabs from three vaccine manufacturers to inoculate the entire Hong Kong population. The first million shots from Beijing-based company Sinovac is expected to arrive in January.

Nip said the public may get vaccinated in community centres, public hospitals, elderly homes, private hospitals, and clinics.

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The minister’s statement comes as Hong Kong recorded 35 new confirmed infections, the lowest number of infections since the fourth wave of COVID-19 began. The city has now logged 8,923 cases to date.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection warned that holiday gatherings may still push the COVID-19 daily tally up.

“Although the overall trend is a bit downwards. Still we’re receiving cases due to gatherings in the past few days, on the holidays, the parties,” Chuang said.

The 35 new cases include one imported case—a female from Indonesia. Of the 34 local transmissions, 10 had untraceable origins.

The Health Department also detected coronavirus variants believed to be more transmissible in previously confirmed cases. The close contact of a recent returnee from South Africa carried the variant from there, while two family members from the United Kingdom were infected by the variant found in Britain.

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