Hong Kong and South Korea start coronavirus vaccination drives
Hong Kong and South Korea kicked off coronavirus vaccination drives on Friday, as momentum builds for inoculation rollouts across the Asia-Pacific region.
South Korea plans to inoculate 70 percent of its population within seven months while Hong Kong aims to vaccinate all adults by the end of the year.
Both places were among the first to experience coronavirus outbreaks after the coronavirus spread from central China early last year.
But they kept infections comparatively low thanks to strict quarantine measures for arrivals, widely adhered to social distancing measures and effective trace and test programmes.
These latest campaigns come after New Zealand and Australia launched their Covid-19 inoculations over the weekend.
While the United States and Europe have rapidly vaccinated millions against Covid-19, many places in the Asia-Pacific that have battled the pandemic comparatively well have taken a slower approach to administering the jabs.
Though China has so far given the second-highest number of doses in the world at over 40 million, it fell short of its goal to vaccinate 50 million before mid-February.
In Japan, health experts fear a history of vaccine controversies may lead to hesitancy when coronavirus shots become widely available there.
In a bid to boost public confidence, South Korea televised the first shot given at a public health centre in Seoul on Friday morning, with President Moon Jae-in looking on.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged all citizens to take the jabs: “Let us all take every step forward to return to those days that we miss.”
– Chinese vaccine –
In Hong Kong, jabs were first given to members of the public on Friday. But officials may face an uphill task persuading residents to take the Chinese-made SinoVac vaccines in a city where public distrust of Beijing runs deep.
City regulators fast-tracked approval for Sinovac jabs last week despite comparatively low efficacy and limited published data. The first million shots were sent by mainland China a day later…..read more