Not many Hong Kong residents are appearing to receive COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese maker Sinovac Biotech due to reports of side effects, according to health experts.
The city has faced a significant decline in public confidence in the Sinovac vaccine after the report of the first death of a vaccinated person emerged last week. Two more death cases reported and three other patients had to give intensive care after getting the jabs in the previous week.
Hong Kong’s Covid-19 vaccine decline
The percentage of people receiving Sinovac vaccines at community vaccination centers dropped to 72 percent on March 10. It was more than 90 percent last week. Over one-third of those scheduled for the vaccine, 36 percent did not show up on Tuesday.
The early consumption rate for the BioNTech vaccine was 91 percent as 5,900 people received the jab on its first day, Wednesday.
The officials first rejected a link between the vaccines and the first two deaths and two intensive care cases. But they are still investigating the recent reports.
“It’s understandable some residents are worried about the latest serious adverse events and even deaths following vaccination,” Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip said on Tuesday.
The respiratory medicine specialist Dr. Leung Chi-chiu said that no data provided evidence that the current Covid-19 vaccine could be the reason behind a heart attack or stroke. Most of the six serious patients had these conditions. He said those patients already had chronic disorders, such as hypertension and diabetes which could cause fatality and hospitalization even without a mass vaccination.
It was an unnecessary fear
“Many places would only report possible or suspected cases. But Hong Kong includes all [adverse events] without revealing the background [incidence] rates, and so it appears like we’ve had lots of cases,” he said. “It was an unnecessary fear.”
The public vaccination campaign in Hong Kong started on Feb 26. It mainly focused on people aged 60 years and above, healthcare staff, and other essential workers. On Tuesday, Hong Kong extended its priority groups to cover almost half of its population. Teachers, public transport drivers, and restaurant staff were included in that group.