Hong Kong, Feb 18 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong is set to roll out a citywide Covid-19 vaccination program, with the government approving the use of China’s Sinovac vaccine Thursday.
Health authority confirmed Thursday morning their approval of the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by mainland Chinese bio-pharmaceutical firm Sinovac for emergency use. The decision came after a panel of experts said earlier this week that protection offered by the Sinovac jabs would outweigh risks.
The Sinovac vaccine has a reported efficacy rate of 62.3 percent and has not been approved by the World Health Organization.
The first 1 million Sinovac doses will arrive late Friday afternoon, while the Fosun/BioNTech vaccine, co-developed by China’s Fosun Pharma and Germany’s BioNTech, will arrive in Hong Kong by the end of February.
At a Thursday press conference, Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip said the first jabs are scheduled to be given from Feb. 26, and the mass program will last for up to six months.
Five types of people will have priority to the vaccines, including health workers, those aged 60 over, and residents and staff of elderly care homes. They are expected to be vaccinated within the coming two months.
The government has set up a HK$1 billion ($129 million) indemnity fund to compensate anyone suffering from serious reactions to the vaccines. Affected individuals could file a claim within two years after getting their first dose.
Meanwhile, social distancing restrictions in Hong Kong eased Thursday, with the reopening of some sports venues, beauty parlours and gyms and dining-in at restaurants allowed until 10pm, instead of 6pm before Thursday. EFE-EPA