Hong Kong expands Covid-19 vaccine rollout to younger citizens

Frorm April 23, young adults aged 16 and 17-years-old can register to receive the Pfizer jab while those 18 and above also have the option of Sinovac.

Younger Hong Kong residents will be eligible to start booking their Covid-19 vaccine shots from April 23. File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN, April 16 (ANA) – In a bid to boost the inoculation rate in Hong Kong, officials have made Covid-19 vaccines more accessible by expanding the territory’s rollout drive to all residents aged 16 and above.

Singapore-based broadcaster Channel News Asia (CNA) reported on Thursday that younger residents were now eligible to start booking their shots from April 23.

Young adults aged 16 and 17-years-old can receive the Pfizer jab while those 18 and above also have the option of Sinovac. To date, only people over the age of 30 have been eligible for vaccination.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan told a press conference that people needed to come forward to take the jab not just to protect themselves, but also to allow the city to be part of travel bubbles.

“I hope everyone would take the step, otherwise I am worried later this year for when other jurisdictions relax travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” Chan said in remarks broadcast on CNA.

“And if our vaccination rate in Hong Kong stays at a low level, then travellers from Hong Kong to these countries will not be given any priority.”

On Tuesday, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the government was looking to finalise a travel bubble agreement with Singapore and was expecting “an early indication of agreement between the two sides”.

According to Hong Kong-based publication South China Morning Post, Lam urged locals to get on board with the vaccination programme, admitting that its pace was “not very satisfactory”.

The Hong Kong government said fully vaccinated visitors to the special administrative region would serve a shorter quarantine time.

It said people travelling from low-risk countries would isolate for seven days, while visitors travelling from medium to high-risk countries would now be quarantined for 14 days instead of 21.

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa

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