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Monday, Mar 27, 2023

Little hearts may break as kiddie screening starts

Little hearts may break as kiddie screening starts

About 50,000 children aged five to 11 will be barred from entering premises such as restaurants, libraries and sports venues from today when the vaccine pass requirement is extended.
Among 400,000 children in the age group, about 50,000 have not received a single vaccine dose, said Secretary for the Civil Service Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan. But most children are unaffected by the widened policy, she added.

"The vaccination rate of children aged three to 11 who received a second jab has reached 70 percent. The children who have not been vaccinated may be because they had been infected earlier," Yeung said.

By Wednesday, only 16.8 percent of children aged under three had received the first jab.

Commenting on the case where two toddlers suffered facial paralysis after receiving the mainland-made Sinovac jabs, Yeung said they were isolated incidents.

Mike Kwan Yat-wah, a consultant at Princess Margaret Hospital's pediatric infectious disease unit, said two toddlers under three had suffered from weakened face muscles after their inoculation, but they could recover through physiotherapy or on their own.

Whether facial muscle weakness, which is less severe than facial palsy, is related to vaccination remains to be investigated, he said.

The civil service chief said unvaccinated children are more likely to develop complications once infected, adding that several infected children suffering from encephalitis or croup had to be admitted to the intensive care unit or had received tracheal intubation.

Although they eventually recovered, Yeung said they suffered great physical and mental pain during the process.

Meanwhile, four additional vaccination stations will be set up today. The Lai Chi Kok Park station will provide Sinovac. After an inspection of the site, Yeung said the station does not rule out the provision of BioNTech in the future according to community demand.

The other three private clinic vaccination stations in Tuen Mun, Quarry Bay and Central will provide both Sinovac and BioNTech.

Hong Kong yesterday reported 4,024 local infections and 245 imported cases, plus five deaths.

Two elderly homes and one disabled care home reported five infections, and 61 residents and staff were listed as close contacts.

A total of 373 schools reported 498 cases, with four classes suspending face-to-face teaching for one week.

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