No plan for COVID-19 vaccination incentives ‘for the time being’: Ho

2021-06-02 04:15     Comment:0

CE urges people to get their jabs on voluntary basis 

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said yesterday that for the time being the government does not plan to roll out any incentive measures to boost COVID-19 jabs, reaffirming that the vaccination programme is being carried out on a voluntary basis.

Ho also reaffirmed that the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccines that the government has ordered is sufficient to meet residents’ needs, despite the fact that the world as a whole is grappling with a shortage and that the Chinese mainland is also running into a vaccine supply shortage.

Ho made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of yesterday’s inauguration ceremony of the revamped Macau Grand Prix Museum in Zape.

The chief executive urged residents to be inoculated against the novel coronavirus in order to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to help create herd immunity in Macau.

Ho stressed that COVID-19 jabs are only given to people in Macau on a voluntary basis, because of which the government for the time being does not plan to roll out any incentive measures to encourage more residents to get their COVID-19 shots. But he was quick to add that experiences across the world have indicated that the higher the COVID-19 vaccination rate is in a particular country or region, the better it has been able to bring COVID-19 transmission under control.

Ho also stressed that the government will not force public servants to be inoculated against COVID-19, adding that he believes public servants are supporting the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive by getting their jabs in their free time.

Ho also noted that more residents have made an appointment for their COVID-19 jabs than previously, adding that he will tell the Health Bureau (SSM) to extend the opening hours of its inoculation facilities so as to make it more convenient for residents to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

‘Very confident” in Guangdong’s COVID-19 control work

Meanwhile, Ho said that the Macau government was “very confident” that its Guangdong counterpart will be able to bring its current increase in COVID-19 transmissions under control in a short time as the provincial health authorities have been taking a raft of COVID-19 prevention and control measures, including large-scale nucleic acid testing (NAT).

Ho underlined that the Macau Health Bureau has been maintaining close communication with its Guangdong counterpart about each other’s COVID-19 situations, adding that in line with the current Macau-Guangdong communication mechanism, the Macau government will immediately impose its 14-day hotel quarantine on all those who have been to particular neighbourhoods in the province once new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases have been reported in any of them.

Ho also admitted that the current COVID-19 transmissions in Guangdong are having an adverse impact on Macau’s tourism sector’s recovery. He noted that many flights between Guangzhou and cities in other provinces have been suspended, which prevents tourists from other provinces from travelling to Macau by flying to Guangzhou first. He said he hopes that tourists in other provinces can choose to take direct flights to Macau from other major air transport hubs that serve air routes to Macau such as Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai.

16.4 pct vaccination rate

Meanwhile, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced in a statement that as of 4 p.m. yesterday, 177,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to 112,559 people in Macau, comprising 46,390 who had received their first jab and 66,169 who had received their second jab.

Macau’s vaccination rate stood at 16.4 percent of the population as of 4 p.m. yesterday.

A total of 15 adverse events were reported in the past 24 hours (until 4 p.m. yesterday). The total number of adverse events since the start of the vaccination drive stood at 766, or 0.43 percent of the total number of jabs, including three serious cases.

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng speaks to reporters at the Macau Grand Prix Museum in Zape yesterday. Photo: Prisca Tang

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