Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan today said it is estimated that members of the public can get vaccinated through the vaccination programmes led by the Government free of charge from February.
Prof Chan told lawmakers that the Government’s goal is to provide vaccines for the majority of the population within this year.
Noting that the vaccine developed by BioNTech in collaboration with Fosun Pharma has more stringent requirements for transport and storage and also requires thawing procedures, the Government will set up Community Vaccination Centres in 18 districts to ensure the quality of the vaccines and that the vaccination procedures adhere to requirements.
For the other two vaccines, the Government expects that they will be handled following the arrangements for seasonal influenza in general, under which the public will be vaccinated through private hospitals and clinics, Prof Chan added.
Members of the public will receive a vaccination card for record after the jab. The relevant record can be uploaded to the Electronic Health Record Sharing System.
The COVID-19 Electronic Testing Record System launched by the Government will also include an Electronic Vaccination Record feature for convenient download by the public.
Prof Chan noted that having considered experts' views, the Government will vaccinate priority groups first, including groups which have higher risks of coming into contact with the COVID-19 virus, groups which have greater mortality rates after contracting the disease, and groups which may easily transmit the virus to others, the vulnerable or weak if infected.
She added that the Government is reviewing other target groups which may need to receive vaccination early due to their work nature or other needs, including those who are particularly crucial to Hong Kong's infrastructure and operations.
Prof Chan also noted that the Government is making preparations to set up an Indemnity Fund.
In the event members of the public encounter a severe adverse event associated with the administration of a vaccine, the fund will cover the indemnities determined by the court or arbitration and can provide in advance part of the indemnities in order to make available financial assistance to the member of the public as early as possible.