First batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrive in HK
The first batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Hong Kong on Friday afternoon, marking what the government says is “the beginning of a new stage” in the city’s fight against the epidemic.
The 1 million jabs which arrived on a Cathay Pacific flight came from mainland firm Sinovac. Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan welcomed the shipment, along with Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip—who leads the vaccination programme set to begin next Tuesday.
The government earlier approved the emergency use of these vaccines developed by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company, amid concerns over health risks due to comparatively lower efficacy rates. The efficacy rate of a vaccine measures how successful it is in preventing disease among controlled test groups during clinical trials.
Sinovac’s vaccine reportedly has an efficacy rate of 62.3% if two of its doses were administered 28 days apart. On the other hand, another vaccine developed by German firm BioNTech is said to have a 90% efficacy rate. Both have been approved for emergency use.
Chan allayed concerns over health risks and reiterated that the Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use were “proven to be effective, of quality, and also safe.”
The government ordered 7.5 million doses each from Sinovac and BioNTech, and another 7.5 million doses of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca have been procured. The first 1 million jabs from BioNTech is scheduled to arrive by the end of the month.
Nip urged the public to get tested as early as possible to fast-track the recovery of Hong Kong’s economy and the return of normal pre-pandemic life.
But a recent university-led survey showed that only around 39% of Hong Kong citizens would want to get inoculated against the coronavirus, even amid new daily Covid-19 infections recorded in the city.
Hong Kong has logged 10,834 Covid-19 cases to date after 13 new infections were reported on Friday. Eight patients had no traceable sources of infection, according to the Centre for Health Protection.