More people get jabs after new guidelines: SSM

2021-09-17 03:20     Comment:4

Tony Wong

        Addressing yesterday’s press conference about Macau’s novel coronavirus situation, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said that since her bureau announced its new COVID-19 vaccination measure on Monday – which will require all those who have not been inoculated against the novel coronavirus to be tested for COVID-19 regularly if they need to meet service users in their job or work with their colleagues in indoor workplaces, the number of residents getting their COVID-19 jabs and those booking a jab have significantly increased over the past two days.

Leong also reaffirmed yesterday that the new measure doesn’t force residents to be inoculated against COVID-19, nor does it bar unjabbed people from going to work, as they can choose to take a “substitute” measure that enables them to go to work – undergoing a COVID-19 test regularly.

According to Leong, 3,000 to 4,000 people have had their COVID-19 jabs per day on average over the past two days, compared to just around 2,000 people per day on average over the past week. The number of people who have booked a COVID-19 jab per day has increased to 10,000 on average over the past two days, from the around 2,000 on average over the past few weeks, according to Leong.

The Health Bureau published new guidelines on Monday on COVID-19 vaccinations and nucleic acid testing (NAT) for “all staff members” in the city, according to which all those in contact with service users during their work, or all those who share a “confined” workplace with others, will have to be tested for COVID-19 once every week, or even more frequently, if they have not been inoculated against the novel coronavirus.

In general, the tests will not be free of charge, usually costing 80 patacas each.

During Monday’s COVID-19 press conference, Health Bureau officials elaborated on the new guidelines, saying that “most indoor workplaces” are regarded as “confined” workplaces. The officials confirmed on Monday that according to the two criteria laid out in the guidelines published earlier that day, the new measure will cover almost the entire working population in the city, regardless of whether working in the public or the private sectors, except for very few groups of people such as freelancers.

The new guidelines published on Monday state that “all staff members” have the responsibility to be inoculated against the novel coronavirus so as to prevent COVID-19 transmissions in the workplace. The Health Bureau officials reaffirmed on Monday that the new measure aims to ensure workplace safety. The officials also told Monday’s press conference that the required frequency of the nucleic acid tests for those who have not been inoculated against COVID-19 will depend on their respective occupations. The officials said that all the respective public or private entities will have to draw up their own specific rules that enable them to implement the new measure that is required by the “principled” guidelines published by the Health Bureau on Monday.

Since Monday’s announcement, some residents have expressed opposition to the new guidelines, saying that the new measure appeared to be “de facto” mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

On Wednesday, the Health Bureau insisted that the new guidelines published on Monday do not violate the Macau government’s principle that COVID-19 vaccinations are voluntary, as those who are unable to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for health reasons, or those who merely do not want to get inoculated, can choose to undergo a COVID-19 nucleic acid test regularly as a “substitute” measure that enables them to go to work despite having not been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Consequently, the Health Bureau said on Wednesday, the new measure announced on Monday is not a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination measure, nor a measure that imposes any restriction on those who have not been inoculated.

During yesterday’s press conference, Leong reaffirmed that the new measure announced by her bureau on Monday complies with the National Health Commission’s (NHC) principle that COVID-19 vaccinations should only be administered on a voluntary basis. Leong also said that this new measure does not violate the NHC’s COVID-19 vaccination principle that unjabbed people should not be barred from entering major public venues that are important for people’s daily life such as supermarkets, hospitals, bus terminals and schools.

Sept 27 start for public servants

The Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP) announced on Tuesday that it will start implementing the new guidelines announced by the Health Bureau for public servants on September 27. According to the announcement, all public servants who have not been inoculated against COVID-19 must present a NAT certificate confirming that they have tested for the novel coronavirus within the past seven days, when entering their respective workplaces. The SAFP announcement said that those who are unable to go to work due to their failure to display a COVID-19 vaccination record or a negative NAT result will face disciplinary proceedings for “unexcused absence from work”.

The SAFP announcement said that only those who hold a doctor’s certificate confirming that they are unable to get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to certain health reasons can have their NAT test cost exempted – i.e. civil servants who merely choose not to be inoculated without a health reason will have to pay for the regular NAT tests themselves.

Leong noted during yesterday’s press conference that the Health Bureau published another set of guidelines on Wednesday, according to which those who want to obtain an officially-recognised doctor’s certificate confirming their unsuitability for COVID-19 vaccinations must make an inoculation appointment at one of the city’s vaccination facilities first. They can only get this certificate at the vaccination facility after being assessed there that they are unsuitable for COVID-19 vaccinations.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, 633,071 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to 338,450 people in Macau.

The COVID-19 vaccination rate stood at 49.6 percent as of 4 p.m. yesterday.

Health Bureau (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou addresses yesterday’s press conference about the city’s novel coronavirus situation. Photo: Tony Wong

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  • visitors2021091822:092021-09-18 22:09

    very good reports

  • visitors2021092220:382021-09-22 20:38