People should not take the risk of getting infected with Covid-19 to avoid getting the jab, vaccination expert panel chairman Lau Yu-lung warned.
His warning came as experts on Sunday recommended that people who have taken two Covid
jabs do not need to receive a booster shot after they recover from Covid
Speaking on a radio program on Monday, Lau said despite the antibodies from infection being good, people should not take the risk of being infected as they could die.
“Being infected after getting vaccinated allows people to have a ‘hybrid immunity’, which is better than the protection brought by vaccines
alone. However, people should not wish to get infected [to enhance their immunity] because Covid
-19 infection could lead to death,” Lau said.
“Hong Kong has been hit hard by the pandemic over the past few weeks and saw the deaths of lots of elderly and chronically ill patients. Getting infected to enhance immunity is definitely a wrong idea,” he said.
Lau also said the number of daily infections will remain high at 20,000 to 40,000 for three to six weeks before the infection count could drop, adding citizens should remain cautious.
The pandemic situation may even deteriorate as the highly contagious Omicron variant is spreading across the world, he said.
“Hongkongers will not be able to relax for a while. We need to work hard to combat the pandemic,” he said. Hong Kong has been struggling to catch up with the pandemic development instead of being well-prepared before the surge of infections, Lau said.
He said Hong Kong failed to do a good job in its housing and elderly welfare policies, causing overcrowded living spaces and poor management at elderly care homes, and now all Hongkongers have to bear the consequences together.
Lau also said people who received three doses of mainland-made Sinovac vaccine
or two German-made BioNTech
jabs should be regarded as fully vaccinated. The three-fourths of elderly who opted for Sinovac jabs should all receive three jabs.
However, young men who have been infected could only receive one BioNTech
jab after recovery because they face a higher risk of heart inflammation following vaccination.
Meanwhile, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen believed the drop in the number of people taking jabs lately could be because some people have been infected and they no longer need to receive a booster shot.
“The number of jabs being administered started to drop in the past week. I suspect some people who had made vaccination appointments were infected and could not get the jab. Some recovered patients also could not get vaccinated right after recovery,” Nip said.
He also said three designated community vaccination centers for children, teenagers and elderly aged 60 or above at the Hong Kong Central Library, Hong Kong Spinners Industrial Building in Cheung Sha Wan and Millennium City 5 in Kwun Tong will administer jabs to all citizens starting Friday.
Most vaccination centers will start to provide walk-in service to all citizens on Friday, he said.
More than 80 percent of Hongkongers aged above 12 have been vaccinated, and the first jab coverage has already reached 91 percent. More than 2.26 million people have received the booster shot, he said.