The Hong Kong vaccine pass will be extended to children aged between five and 11 years old, said Dr Libby Lee, the Undersecretary for Health, on Thursday. Under this arrangement, children in this age group must get two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by November 30 to enter restaurants, and government-run venues such as sports premises and swimming pools. In addition, children between 12 and 17 must be triple-vaccinated by November 30 to keep their vaccine passes valid.

5-11s to get vaccinated in two phases

“For the first phase, children aged five to 11 are required to have received at least their first dose by September 30. If they have received the first dose three months ago or earlier, they are required to receive the second dose. In the second phase, children aged five to 11 are required to receive two doses of vaccination by November 30,” said Dr Lee.

Once they get their Covid-19 shot, children can then present their vaccination QR code to staff before entering premises covered by the vaccine pass. Children who have mobile phones can install the LeaveHomeSafe app and upload their vaccination records on it.

Those who do not have mobile phones can present paper forms or a screenshot of the QR code before they enter venues that require patrons aged five and over to be vaccinated. “We will also introduce a new function to the LeaveHomeSafe app. Parents’ LeaveHomeSafe can store and show the vaccine pass of children,” added Dr Lee.

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Children who get their vaccinations by the first- and second-dose deadlines can enter premises where the vaccination records are checked prior to entry, such as restaurants, sports premises and swimming pools. They may also enter places where there is passive checking of the vaccine pass, such as shopping malls, department stores, markets and supermarkets.

How does this system apply to children recovered from Covid-19?

Children between five and 11 who have recovered from Covid-19 must follow the same schedule as those over 12 who have recovered from the virus. Therefore, unvaccinated recovered children in this age group must get the first dose six months after recovery. Children who got the second dose before they contracted the virus or are within six months of their recovery do not need to get another shot to keep their vaccine pass valid.

Those in the five to 11 age group who have recovered more than six months ago and who received their first dose six months ago or earlier must get the second dose to maintain their vaccine pass validity. The second-dose requirement is not applicable to recovered persons aged five to 17 who have received one dose of the BioNTech vaccine.   

Children older than 12 must get three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine

Starting September 30, the government will reduce the grace period for persons aged 12 or above to receive the third dose after the second dose will from six months to five months. Those who got their second shot within the past five months will still have a valid vaccine pass, but they must receive the third dose within five months after receiving the second dose. By November 30, children in this age group must be triple-vaccinated to have valid vaccine passes.

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Vaccination will not be made mandatory for children to attend school. Instead, the Education Bureau has stated that 90% of secondary students must be triple-vaccinated by November 1 to have full-day in-person classes. This condition does not apply to primary schools, kindergartens and tutorial schools, which will only hold half-day classes irrespective of the vaccination rate among their students.

The Hong Kong government recently lowered the age limit for Sinovac to six months old, while the age limit for BioNTech remains at five years old.

Image header credits: Prostock-studio via Canva

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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