Hong Kong – one of the few places globally to secure enough coronavirus vaccines to vaccinate its entire population – may soon discard several vaccine doses as the vaccination process face struggles to gain ground because of extensive uncertainty and distrust. A member of the task force of the government and ex-controller of the Center for Health Protection, Thomas Tsang, warned the officials during an interview on local radio that the expiry date for Hong Kong’s first batch of BioNTech and Pfizer vaccines is approaching speedily.
Hong Kong says it may throw out millions of #COVID19 vaccines as people refuse to take them.
Observers link vaccine hesitancy to distrust of the government after a wave of new laws targeting pro-democracy activists, including one punishing “sedition” with up to life in prison. pic.twitter.com/hsj38HjF8I
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Those vaccines will expire and useless from September, and vaccination centers using the shots will cease operating. Tsang urged people to come forward to receive a jab shot. About 7.5 million people live in Hong Kong, so it acquired 7.5 million doses each of BioNTech, Pfizer, and the Sinovac vaccine of China. But the officials of the city canceled a similarly-sized order of AstraZeneca’s doses.
Several Reasons are behind the Levels of Vaccine Hesitancy
Despite the excess of COVID-19 vaccines, which are free of cost and available to everyone over the age of sixteen, around twenty percent of people received one dose, which is about 2.2 million and only fourteen percent their second. Levels of shot uncertainty are very high in Hong Kong for several reasons, including deep-seated suspicion of the government, complacency from initial successes containing the coronavirus outbreak, protection concerns, and extensive coverage of any side effects or deaths in those inoculated people, no matter how tangential.
Most of the world is struggling to inoculate even those patients at risk of disease; Tsang said it is just not right for the Hong Kong government to acquire vaccine supply and just sit on it. Moreover, the global community generally took a very light view of the wealthy sign limited vaccine supplies, specifically when they could go to better use elsewhere.
WHO Head Criticized the States that announced to Vaccinate Low-Risk Children and Teens
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), criticized states that decided to inoculate low-risk teens and children ahead of donating supplies to nations not able to vaccinate population even at risk, calling it a moral disaster though it is not clear how the reasoning might apply to regions that not only restricted vaccine supplies and were also not able to encourage their people to use them.
Hong Kong is not the only city that is facing huge hesitancy, with much of the Asia Pacific region proving unwilling to act actively against the COVID-19 pandemic. Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, dismissed calls to encourage citizens to take shots, and for the first time, the city will extend vaccines to non-residents in an effort to utilize its vaccine stockpile.