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Sunday, Jun 20, 2021

A Liberal Party poll says 40 percent of Hongkongers will snub current vaccines bought by the government. SING TAO

60pc of Hongkongers will take jabs, poll reveals

Two in five Hongkongers have no plans to take vaccines purchased by the government, a pro-establishment party survey has shown.
In a Liberal Party poll of 2,691 people last week, nearly 60 percent said they would take the jab, but the remaining 40 percent would snub it.

Of the 1,600 willing to get inoculated, over half said the government should make vaccination mandatory, with some 32 percent disagreeing. About 55 percent urged authorities to let people choose their preferred vaccine brand.
The Standard Channel

A total of 1,112 - two in five - said they wish to choose where the vaccines were produced. Nearly 64 percent of them preferred jabs made in China.

World Health Organization experts have estimated that at least 65 to 70 percent of the population need to be vaccinated to acquire herd immunity - a status in which the majority of people are immune to an infectious disease to control the pandemic.

Liberal Party lawmaker Felix Chung Kwok-pan called on the government to release more information about the vaccines to reassure the public.

To make sure that Hong Kong reaches the vaccine coverage threshold, Chung suggested that officials offer incentives, such as relaxing social distancing rules for those vaccinated and exempting them from quarantine in the mainland.

"If getting vaccinated means one can cross the border or resume business activities, then it might be more useful [than just protecting oneself from the virus]," he said.

Some experts, however, are worried that vaccines alone could not bring about herd immunity and that some people could be misled into deciding not to get the jab.

Respiratory disease specialist Leung Chi-chiu said it is too early to determine the vaccine coverage ratio to reach herd immunity, as the shots' efficacy remains uncertain and the virus keeps mutating.

"Vaccine is just a supplementary tool in addition to social distancing rules and testing. In the short term, we only hope it can help alleviate the pressure of hospitals," Leung said. "It would be difficult to rely on vaccination alone to make the majority of the population immune in the next few months."

He said he is not too concerned about the possibility of many refusing the jab as long as the public could get more data clarifying the vaccines' effectiveness and see how they are administered worldwide.

Infectious disease medic Wilson Lam said the probable vaccination coverage of 60 percent is "not very ideal" and "misses by an inch."

He warned against misleading information spreading online and in the news about vaccine side effects.

Leung and Lam said a mandatory vaccination scheme could hardly get the public's approval and would require a huge quantity of shots.

Apart from joining a WHO-led vaccine distribution scheme, Hong Kong has reached deals with mainland and foreign manufacturers, securing 7.5 million doses of each of three types of vaccines.

The earliest batch of one million doses produced by China's Sinovac is expected to be shipped to Hong Kong next month.
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