December 30, 2021
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Hong Kong will consider timely introduction of “vaccine passports”, noting only a minority is against receiving shots despite providing multiple means to smoothen the vaccination services.
In a bid to boost vaccination, the arrangement will require those entering designated premises or participating in specific activities to provide vaccination proof. Otherwise they will be barred from entry. Exemption will be given to those who have not been vaccinated owing to health reasons.
In fact, “vaccine bubble” arrangement will be introduced at government buildings and offices in mid-February, under which government employees entering such premises for work-related purposes will be required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, except those unable to receive vaccination due to health conditions, said Lam.
In an article on Dec 28, Lam appealed to the public to get vaccinated, as that will create favorable conditions for the resumption of cross-boundary travel with the mainland – something that is eagerly awaited by members of the public
Lam said that although Hong Kong has been conducting stringent measures against imported cases, the community still needs higher vaccination rate to enhance its immunity when facing the threat of the coronavirus variant Omicron.
She said that by now, the overall vaccination rate in the city is only 72 percent, with less than half of those aged between 70 and 79 having been vaccinated, and the vaccination rate of the group aged 80 or above is only about 20 percent.
Due to the higher infection risk of the elderly, the current vaccination situation is far from desirable, Lam said.
Speaking on a local radio program, David Hui Shu-cheong, government adviser, chair professor of CUHK respiratory medical clinic, said he fully agreed that it is necessary to introduce the “vaccine passports”. Given the undesirable vaccination rate, Hui worried that it is only a matter of time before Omicron variant cases enter the community.