HK's Carrie Lam takes 2nd Sinovac shot, condemns smears on vaccine efficacy, safety
Published: Mar 22, 2021 09:43 PM
Carrie Lam (left), Hong Kong's chief executive, receives her second dose of the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine at the Central Government Offices in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Monday. Photo: VCG

Carrie Lam (left), Hong Kong's chief executive, receives her second dose of the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine at the Central Government Offices of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Monday. Photo: VCG

Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and several government secretaries took the second dose of Chinese developer's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, aiming to boost public confidence  amid rumors smearing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.  

Lam took her second shot in a live broadcast along with other senior government officials, including Chief Secretary of Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah. They received their first shots as well as the city's first on February 22. 

So far, about 350,000 Hong Kong citizens have been vaccinated, or about 5.3 percent of the HKSAR's population, Lam told media after receiving the second shot, noting that the vaccination rate could continue to see an increase.  

Hong Kong has a total of 2.3 million doses of vaccine on hand now, Lam noted. She called on citizens to take advantage of the city's vaccine supply. 

Lam refuted rumors that smear the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. She condemned ill-intended attempts to undermine the efforts of the government and drain the confidence of the public, noting that both of the two authorized vaccines in Hong Kong - Sinovac and BioNTech - are safe, qualified and effective. 

A Hong Kong resident, surnamed Ma, said she had recently heard cases of some medical staff exaggerating the side effects of the Sinovac vaccine and urging the public not to take the vaccine. 

"Not only medical workers, but also some anti-Beijing activists smeared Sinovac in forums and social media group chats," Ma told the Global Times on Monday. 

She noted that such rumors intensified following media reports that seven people died after receiving Sinovac shots. Ma also noticed that the number of citizens making appointments for the vaccine had decreased significantly on the vaccine reservation website.

Concerns have been raised among the public in Hong Kong following deaths that occurred after receiving Sinovac or BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. 

Seven Sinovac vaccine recipients in Hong Kong died after vaccination. Hong Kong health experts reviewed the cases and announced on March 15 that none of the deaths that occurred after people received the vaccine were directly linked to the vaccine. 

The first death after receiving the BioNTech vaccine was reported on Friday. Hong Kong health authorities said local experts are reviewing the case and results would be announced in a timely fashion. 

"I would condemn a very small minority of people who try to sabotage our efforts by going the other way. They are spreading fake news, misinformation and rumors on social media, and also through other means, especially when these people are health professionals. I am extremely disappointed," Lam said. 

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, solicitor of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Monday that the actions of some medical workers who deliberately spread false information about vaccines to disturb the public's faith in a major public health event lie in a de facto legal gray area, even though it seriously violates their code of practice.  

But he noted that it could be an indictable criminal offense if medical workers in a vaccination center intentionally mislead the public, if there is enough evidence to prove it. 

The government's regulatory authorities should intervene as soon as possible, Wong noted. 


blog comments powered by Disqus