The Hong Kong government issued an advisory stating that residents of the city under 60 years old in certain professions or with specific requirements can get their fourth Covid-19 dose. Authorities also announced that anyone who wants to visit designated healthcare premises in the city must have an eligible vaccine pass, unless they are exempted.
Fourth Covid-19 shot for Honkongers
From May 21 till May 25, Hongkongers aged 18-59 can get walk-in appointments for their fourth Covid-19 shot at Community Vaccination Centres or at Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Stations. Starting at 8 am on May 26, people who qualify for their second booster can make appointments online.
The following people are advised to get their fourth dose:
- Students going abroad for their education
- Travellers departing Hong Kong
- Healthcare workers
- Caregivers at residential care homes for the elderly
- Staff at residential care homes for persons with disabilities
- Personnel involved in anti-epidemic related work
- Staff providing cross-boundary transportation
- Workers at control points and ports
The government reiterated that residents in the city should get their second booster at least six months after they received their first.
This announcement comes ahead of the May 31 deadline for eligible Hongkongers to get their third Covid-19 shot so they can enter premises in the city covered by the vaccine pass. So far, the second booster is not mandatory under the vaccine pass scheme.
Vaccine pass requirement extended to designated healthcare premises
Starting June 13, Hongkongers who want to enter the following 13 kinds of healthcare premises must have a valid vaccine pass:
- The Hospital Authority’s (HA) specialist out-patient clinics
- Student Health Service Centres and Special Assessment Centres
- Woman Health Centres
- Oral Health Education Resource Centre
- Travel Health Centres
- Red Ribbon Centre
- Health Promotion Branch Regional Offices
- Methadone Clinics
- Families Clinics
- Government Dental Clinics and Orthodontic Clinics
- Integrated Care Centre for Civil Service
- District Health Centres (DHC)
- DHC Expresses
However, visitors to healthcare premises providing emergency or episodic disease treatment such as Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments, the HA’s general out-patient clinics and the Department of Health’s Maternal and Health Clinics will not need a vaccine pass.
Unvaccinated visitors can enter these 13 premises if they provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within the previous 48 hours. Anyone who visits these premises to collect rapid antigen test (RAT) kits, undergo COVID-19 testing or get a Covid-19 vaccination does not have to present their vaccine pass.
This development comes after health experts urged the government to relax vaccination requirements for adults under 60 as this age group has a high two-dose vaccination rate of 90%, as well as post-infection immunity from the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong. They maintain that the government should encourage the elderly to get their Covid-19 shots as the lower vaccination rate in this age group makes them more vulnerable to serious infection.
Header image credits: shisuka via Canva