The Hong Kong Minister of Health is confident that Covid vaccines will be offered to all residents by the end of 2021.
The city has signed agreements to get more than enough doses for its population, Hong Kong Minister for Food and Health Sophia Chan told CNBC’s Capital Connection on Tuesday.
When asked when Hong Kong could achieve herd immunity, Chan replied that authorities are still assessing the vaccination response and are sticking to the supply-procurement plan. She did not provide a schedule for when the city could achieve herd immunity, a situation where enough people in the population have become immune to a disease that it is effectively no longer spreading.
“We’re pretty confident that by the end of the year … everyone in Hong Kong will have the opportunity to get vaccinated,” she said.
Chan added that more than 22 million doses of Covid vaccines have been ordered.
Hong Kong has a population of around 7.5 million and started its vaccination campaign at the end of February. The company has signed contracts to purchase vaccines from Sinovac Biotech in China, Oxford-AstraZeneca in Europe, and Fosun Pharma from Shanghai and its partner, German drug manufacturer BioNTech.
Customers buy fresh vegetables from a street market store in Hong Kong on March 8, 2021.
Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images
Chan said people seem “pretty excited” about the vaccine, but admitted that they are still phasing it out and that it is not yet available to the general population.
She also said experts are reviewing the causes of adverse events, including at least two deaths after vaccination.
“Our scientific committee initially provided the information that it had nothing to do with the vaccination. That is, they found no direct causation with the vaccination,” she said.
Separately, Chan considered when Hong Kong would relax its coronavirus restrictions, saying the city authorities would be “very careful” on this.
She said the situation remains “a bit unstable” because unlinked cases are still being reported even though new cases are low.
“We really want to contain … and cut the chains of transmission in a community because we don’t want clusters to come out,” she said.
According to the local health authority, Hong Kong reported 21 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to at least 11,121.