COVID-19 vaccination drive to start tomorrow

2021-02-08 02:34     Comment:0

Macau’s COVID-19 vaccination drive will start tomorrow morning, when medical workers will be the first to be inoculated, after which the government will arrange for others working on the frontline against COVID-19 and those working in occupations that are subject to a potentially high COVID-19 risk to get jabs.

Lei made the announcement while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony that marked the delivery of 100,000 doses of inactivated vaccines developed by Beijing-based China National Pharmaceutical Group (also known as Sinopharm) at the Zhuhai Macau Cross-border Industrial Zone checkpoint in Ilha Verde on Saturday afternoon.

The Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Macau by freezer lorry after a 30-hour drive from Beijing. The vaccines were delivered by Nam Kwong Logistics.

Lei said that the government aimed to complete its COVID-19 vaccinations for medical workers before the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday period, after which vaccinations will start for other groups of people that the government has deemed will be among the first to be vaccinated, such as immigration and customs officers working at the city’s checkpoints, police officers, firefighters, public transport drivers, those working in the frozen food sector, casino workers, teaching staff, and those who need to travel to COVID-19 medium-risk or high-risk areas for urgent reasons, after the CNY holiday period.

The government’s five-day CNY holiday starts on Friday.

Lei said that after vaccinating all those in the priority group, the government’s COVID-19 vaccination appointment system would then be open to the population in general.

Lei said that the government will hold a ceremony tomorrow marking the start of its COVID-19 vaccination drive. Lei pointed out that the government’s COVID-19 vaccination appointment system has already been launched for medical workers from the Health Bureau (its health centres and health stations and the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre), the private Kiang Wu Hospital, the University Hospital run by the private Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST), and clinics and rehabilitation centres run by the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (Gung Luen) for them to make an appointment to get their jabs – starting tomorrow.

The Macau government has said that all residents, non-resident workers and non-local students enrolled in Macau will be offered free COVID-19 jabs on a voluntary basis.

Lei said on Saturday that his bureau has ordered a total of 500,000 doses of Sinopharm inactivated vaccines, adding that the local government is now striving for the remaining 400,000 doses to be delivered to Macau as soon as possible. Lei also said that the local government will decide whether it will purchase additional doses of Sinopharm vaccines after assessing the number of residents choosing Sinopharm in the future.

Lei also said that the local government now expects the first batch of mRNA vaccines developed by Germany’s BioNTech to be delivered to Macau later this month or next month. The local government now expects the adenovirus vector vaccines jointly developed by the Anglo-Swedish joint venture of AstraZeneca and Oxford University to be delivered to Macau only in June at the earliest, Lei said.

The BioNTech vaccines will be distributed by Shanghai-based Fosun Pharmaceutical (also simply known as Fosun Pharma).

Lei also said that his bureau has arranged for Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng and other senior officials to get COVID-19 jabs at the start of the vaccination campaign, with the aim of strengthening residents’ confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines. Lei said that the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccines is sufficient for medical workers to get their jabs first in a way that will not prevent senior officials from being vaccinated at the start of the campaign as well. “I will get the first [COVID-19] jab,” the health chief said.

The Sinopharm vaccine reportedly has an efficacy rate of 79 percent.

48th COVID-19 case confirmed

Meanwhile, the government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre confirmed on Friday Macau’s 48th COVID-19 case.

According to a statement by the centre on Friday night, the patient is a 30-year-old local Portuguese national who arrived at the local airport with his girlfriend on January 19 from Lisbon via Amsterdam and Tokyo. After arrival both were immediately taken by the Health Bureau (SSM) to Grand Coloane Resort for mandatory 21-day quarantine and medical observation.

On Wednesday, the man tested positive for IgG antibodies and negative for IgM antibodies. The statement pointed out that the results of the patient’s three nucleic acid tests (NATs) in the 14 days prior were negative, adding that he didn’t show any symptoms of the disease.

On Thursday, he was transferred to the isolation ward of the public Conde de S. Januario Hospital Centre for medical observation, without showing any symptoms of pneumonia. On Friday, however, a nasopharyngeal swab confirmed the patient’s COVID-19 infection, the statement said.

According to the statement, the patient is Macau’s 48th confirmed novel coronavirus case.

Friday’s statement described the patient’s condition as “stable” and classified his infection as “asymptomatic”.

The patient’s girlfriend has been classified as a close contact. The statement said that she had been transferred from Grand Coloane Resort to the Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane.

Grand Coloane Resort is one of Macau’s government-designated quarantine hotels.

A Nam Kwong freezer lorry delivering 100,000 doses of Sinopharm inactivated vaccines from Beijing arrives at the Zhuhai Macau Cross-border Industrial Zone checkpoint on Saturday. The banner on the lorry reads “Nam Kwong Logistics. The first batch of Sinopharm vaccines arrives in Macau smoothly”. Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U, Health Bureau (SSM) Director Lei Chin Ion, Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Macau Deputy Director Yan Zhichan, and Nam Kwong (Group) Chairman Fu Jianguo attended Saturday’s ceremony that marked the delivery of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines. Photo: GCS

Health Bureau (SSM) Director Lei Chin Ion speaks to reporters on the sidelines of Saturday’s ceremony when SSM officials received the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines delivered by Nam Kwong Logistics. Courtesy: TDM

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