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Tuesday, Jun 06, 2023

Ouch! Covid booster jabs to cost $1,800

Ouch! Covid booster jabs to cost $1,800

Healthy citizens who want to get a Covid-19 booster jab may have to pay about HK$1,800 at private clinics starting April 20 when the government will stop offering free vaccines to people not in the high-risk groups.
Family doctor Lam Wing-wo said the government arrangement is reasonable since the danger of infection for healthy people aged under 50 is low and those planning to travel overseas could get the jabs at their own expenses.

Speaking on the radio yesterday, Lam said he believes private clinics can cope with the demands because not many people will pay to get the jab.

"Only a few hundred people may receive an extra booster per month and the private sector can handle the demands," Lam said.

Private clinics offering Covid jabs will purchase the vaccines from pharmaceutical companies and set the price by themselves, he said.

He said that as one BioNTech bivalent vaccine vial can be administered to six people after dilution, people visiting the clinics to get jabbed in groups of six could be given a discount.

Lam proposed the government give private clinics jabs close to their expiry date for free to avoid wastage.

But he added there are not yet details on the self-paid vaccine arrangement, saying there will be briefings later.

The community vaccination centers have seen more people receiving the jabs before the upcoming Ching Ming Festival and Easter holiday, he said.

"People planning to travel overseas have been coming to the centers for a booster shot one to two weeks before the holiday begins," Lam said.

"I saw five patients who tested positive upon returning from overseas yesterday morning. As normality is resuming in the city and people are taking their masks off, it is crucial to get vaccinated because people with a stronger body will not suffer from serious illnesses even if they are infected," he said.

Samuel Kwok Po-yin, chief medical executive of Virtus Medical Group that operates vaccination centers, said people not at high risk are also rushing to get vaccinated prior to the new vaccination arrangement and the group is administering around 100 shots per day.

Kwok said the price for members of non-high-risk groups will be around HK$1,800 per shot - similar to the price for mainlanders getting the BioNTech bivalent shot at the moment.

He warned that as not many people will receive the booster shot, some of the jabs may be wasted and cause the clinics to increase the price.
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