macaupost

2,600 get COVID-19 jabs on 1st day of vaccinations for all locals: govt

2021-02-23 03:18     Comment:0

Around 2,600 local residents made an appointment to be inoculated against the novel coronavirus yesterday, the first day of the start of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for all local residents.

Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, made the remarks during yesterday evening’s regular COVID-19 press conference.

The Health Bureau (SSM) said in a statement yesterday that since the launch of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive earlier this month, some 15,000 people have made an appointment for their COVID-19 jabs. The 15,000 people or so include the about 2,600 residents who made an appointment to get their first shots yesterday.

The government’s inoculation drive started on February 9 covering those in priority groups such as medical workers, firefighters, police and customs officers, air crew members, public transport drivers, staff of social service facilities, teaching staff and casino workers – i.e. the campaign’s first phase, before the second phase, which covers all local residents, commenced yesterday.

The local government has said that it will only decide when its COVID-19 vaccinations for non-resident workers, non-local students enrolled in Macau and all other non-locals who hold a permit to stay in Macau – i.e. the vaccination drive’s third phase – will start after assessing the operation of its COVID-19 vaccination drive’s first and second phases and the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in Macau.

The COVID-19 jabs are free of charge for local residents, non-resident workers and non-local students. However, other non-locals such as the family members of non-resident workers employed in Macau will have to pay 250 patacas per jab – which means that they will have to pay 500 patacas to be vaccinated against COVID-19 considering that each person requires two jabs. The vaccination drive is carried out on a voluntary basis.

The local government has said that people will need to have the second shot four weeks after being given their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccination. The government has also said that most of those who have had the two jabs will develop COVID-19 immunity after two weeks.

Macau’s COVID-19 vaccinations are currently carried out at two inoculation facilities at the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, eight public health centres and two public health stations.

The first batch of inactivated vaccines developed by Beijing-based China National Pharmaceutical Group (also known as Sinopharm) – 100,000 doses – was delivered to Macau on February 6. The Macau government has ordered a total of 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines.

Tai Wa Hou, a Health Bureau official tasked with overseeing the operation of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, spoke to reporters at the Areia Preta Health Centre yesterday morning – i.e. shortly after the start of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for all local residents. Tai reaffirmed that the remaining 400,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines will be delivered to Macau “very soon”.

Tai also reaffirmed that mRNA vaccines developed by Germany’s BioNTech will be delivered to Macau late this month or early next month. The local government now expects adenovirus vector vaccines developed by the Anglo-Swedish joint venture of AstraZeneca and Oxford University to be delivered to Macau only in the third quarter at the earliest, Tai said.

Tai noted that the government’s 12 COVID-19 vaccination facilities run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, where 5,000 places for COVID-19 vaccinations are available per day.

Tai said that since the launch of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, some 15,000 people have made an appointment to get their COVID-19 jabs, some 6,700 of whom belong to the priority groups, adding that about 3,700 of them have had their first shot already.

No adverse events reported

Tai underlined that so far no cases of adverse events after getting inoculated against COVID-19 have been reported.

Tai also noted that the probability of anaphylactic reactions after being administered Sinopharm inactivated vaccines is very low, one case per million doses, adding that therefore anaphylactic reactions were unlikely even if Macau’s whole population were given Sinopharm jabs.

Anaphylaxis is an extreme sensitivity to a substance such as a drug or a severe and rapid systemic allergic reaction to an allergen.

During yesterday evening’s press conference, Lo said that the inoculations with BioNTech vaccines could start next month.

Lo also urged residents to get COVID-19 jabs so as to protect themselves and their family members from the novel coronavirus, apart from helping create herd immunity in Macau.

Meanwhile, Lo noted during the press conference that Macau has not recorded a new COVID-19 case for 16 days, while no local case has been confirmed in 330 days.

48th patient discharged

Lo also announced that Macau’s 48th COVID-19 patient was discharged from hospital on Saturday when he started his 14-day recovery period isolation at the Health Bureau’s Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane, after he tested negative for COVID-19 in a nucleic acid test (NAT) on Wednesday and in another test on Friday.

Lo said that despite testing negative for COVID-19 in a nucleic acid test (NAT) on Wednesday, the 47th COVID-19 patient still needed to remain hospitalised as she tested positive again for COVID-19 in another test on Friday.

The 47th and 48th COVID-19 patients were among the 109 passengers returning to Macau last month on two Air Macau flights from Tokyo. The 47th patient is a 43-year-old local woman who was confirmed as a COVID-19 patient on January 22 after returning to Macau from Dubai, while the 48th patient is a 30-year-old local male Portuguese national who was confirmed as a COVID-19 patient on February 5 after returning to Macau from Lisbon.

Macau has recorded 48 COVID-19 cases since January 22 last year, 46 of which have been classified as imported, while two cases have been classified as “connected to imported cases”. Including the 48th COVID-19 patient who was discharged on Saturday, 47 patients have been cured and discharged from hospital, and no fatalities have been reported in Macau.

186 million ‘government masks’ sold

Meanwhile, the 27th round of the government’s facemask purchase scheme will start on Friday. The facemasks sold under the scheme are colloquially known as “government masks”.

Under the facemask purchase scheme, each local resident, non-resident worker and non-local student enrolled in Macau’s higher education institutions are entitled to buy 30 facemasks at the fixed price of 24 patacas every 30 days at designated outlets upon presentation of their original Macau ID card, work permit or student card.

Under the 30-day scheme, parents or legal guardians are entitled to buy 30 facemasks for each child aged between three and eight.

There will be 83 outlets for the upcoming round of the scheme which runs until March 27, comprising 57 designated pharmacies, eight health centres in Macau and Taipa and two health stations in Coloane run by the Health Bureau, as well as 16 community association venues.

The Health Bureau’s Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said during yesterday’s press conference that 186 million facemasks have been sold under the government’s facemask purchase scheme since its launch in January last year.


A nurse administers a Sinopharm COVID-19 jab to a man at the Areia Preta Health Centre yesterday, the first day of the start of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for all local residents. Photo: GCS

BACK HOME
MORE NEWS
COMMENT
Click refresh authentication code
TODAY'S COVER