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Friday, May 14, 2021

Digital vaccination records can help resume cross-border travels, says Patrick Nip

Digital vaccination records can help resume cross-border travels, says Patrick Nip

Secretary for Civil Services Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, who oversees Hong Kong’s mass vaccination drive, said digital vaccine records the government plans to introduce can help to resume cross-border travel restrictions.
Speaking on a radio program, Nip said citizens will receive a vaccination record card once they take the shots at government centers, or they can also download the government “iAM Smart” app to get a digital vaccination record.

Nip added digital vaccination records could provide a foundation for cross-border travels in the future, and stressed the government understands public concerns over possible relaxation on existing travel restrictions.

The SAR government will continue to discuss the matter with mainland authorities, he said.

“Both of us are very concerned about our respective pandemic situations, the number one priority is to get our epidemic under control,” Nip said.

“Of course, just like everyone else, we want to see cross-boundary travel [to resume] as soon as possible, but we need to do our job well.”

On public criticisms over the government contact-tracing app, Nip stressed the “Leave Home Safe” mobile app will neither track users’ whereabouts nor collect their personal details.

He added the data used will not be sent to the government system or other cloud services, instead, it would be automatically deleted after 31 days.

“I actually find it strange… many other mobile apps will also collect users’ personal details, only if he doesn’t use smartphones.”

Apart from the five community centers which will be open next Friday, around 1,500 private clinics will also be administering the Sinovac jabs by mid-March. Over 1,000 private doctors have joined the inoculation drived at the moment, Nip said.

Authorities will brief private doctors about the vaccination drive next week.

As for the first million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs, Nip said they are expected to arrive next week.

According to details released by the government earlier, citizens will be able to get the jabs at 29 community centers across 18 districts. Among the centers, five of which will provide mainland-produced Sinovac shots while the remaining 24 will offer Pfizer-BioNTech jabs.

Those given priorities for the inoculations can make appointments with private clinics directly, or doing it through the government’s system online.
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