Vaccine booster details announced

November 3, 2021

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Government announced today that immunocompromised patients and people with a higher risk of infection can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for free on or after November 11.


Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan and Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip unveiled the details of the booster shot arrangement at a press conference this afternoon.


Immunocompromised individuals include cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, advanced-stage HIV patients and patients taking active immunosuppressive drugs. They should be administered the third dose at least four weeks after the second dose.


Those who have received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine and with a higher risk of infection should receive the third jab at least six months from the second dose. They include people aged 60 or above, healthcare workers and those with chronic illnesses.


Workers at an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to their occupational setting, such as personnel participating in anti-epidemic related work, providing cross-boundary transportation or working at control points and ports, also belong to this high-risk group.


For these two groups, the government-appointed experts recommend that a third dose of the BioNTech vaccine may elicit a better immune response, though they may choose the type of vaccine they prefer.


For people aged 18 or above in the aforementioned higher risk populations who have received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine, an additional dose of the same vaccine administered at least six months from the second dose is recommended, though they may select the Sinovac vaccine as the third dose.


Prof Sophia Chan said: “As far as BioNTech vaccine is concerned, if you have taken two doses of BioNTech and are in the higher risk groups, then you are recommended to take the third dose.


“For those who have taken the BioNTech vaccine but are not in the higher risk groups, we will look into more data. The joint scientific committee under the Centre for Health Protection and our experts will look into it before making any further recommendation.”


Prof Chan added that individuals who are fully recovered from COVID-19 should discuss with their physician whether two vaccine doses are required and if so, an interval of six months between them is recommended.


Currently, recovered patients are only required to receive one dose of the vaccine.


On ways for the eligible people to get the third jab, Mr Nip said that starting from November 5, they can make reservations for vaccination on or after November 11 at community vaccination centres (CVCs) or designated clinics of the Hospital Authority through the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme website.


They can also collect same-day tickets and get vaccinated at the CVCs without prior booking. Alternatively, they may make a reservation for the Sinovac vaccination through private doctors or clinics enrolled in the vaccination programme.


Additionally, patients and visitors of public hospitals can receive the BioNTech vaccination without prior booking at nine COVID-19 vaccination stations.

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