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Commencement of next stage of COVID-19 vaccination at RCHEs and RCHDs
     Under the second stage of the outreach vaccination arrangement for residential care homes (RCHs), outreach vaccination teams have been arranged to visit all RCHs for the elderly (RCHEs) and RCHs for persons with disabilities (RCHDs) with residents suitable for COVID-19 vaccination, for administering the first, second and third vaccine doses. The next stage of the outreach vaccination arrangement for RCH residents will commence immediately.
     The Government announced earlier the first stage vaccination arrangement, i.e. outreach vaccination teams administering at least the first vaccine dose for all residents who are suitable for COVID-19 vaccination from around 1 100 RCHEs and RCHDs. The target was achieved on March 18. The second stage target was to arrange at least two outreach vaccination visits to RCHs with residents who are suitable for vaccination before April 15.
     A Government spokesman said today (April 15), "The second stage target of outreach vaccination for RCHs has been achieved. With efforts from various parties, the first dose vaccination rate at RCHs has risen from 55 per cent in mid-March to 70 per cent as at yesterday (April 14), with the rate at RCHEs standing at 67 per cent and the rate at RCHDs at 81 per cent. The overall vaccination rates for the second and third doses at RCHs are 42 per cent and 7 per cent respectively."
     "Since many residents were infected with COVID-19 in March and later recovered, the Government will provide in the next stage of outreach vaccination service to unvaccinated RCH residents who have recovered from COVID-19, and those who are due to receive the next vaccine dose after their first or second doses, on or before May 10 so as to achieve a comprehensive vaccination coverage."
     For more effective implementation of the next stage, the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Patrick Nip, together with representatives from the Labour and Welfare Bureau, the Food and Health Bureau, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and the Department of Health (DH), met with medical organisations and healthcare teams participating in the outreach vaccination service for RCHs, as well as representatives and persons-in-charge of RCHs via videoconferencing yesterday to brief them on the third stage vaccination arrangement and appeal for their continued support and co-operation.
     Meanwhile, since the launch of the outreach vaccination service, around 10 per cent of RCH residents have yet to receive COVID-19 vaccination due to their refusal or objections from their family members. The SWD has written to all RCHs on April 4, requiring them to step up communication with and explanation to the family members concerned, so as to appeal to these family members for their reconsideration of consent for RCH residents who are unable to express their wills clearly to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Unless the legal guardians of or applicants of legal guardianship for the RCH residents concerned (i.e. legal guardians appointed by a Guardianship Order under the Mental Health Ordinance (Cap. 136), or persons who lodged an application for a Guardianship Order under the same ordinance on or before April 4) continue to object by the deadline, the medical teams will make judgments based on their medical profession as usual, and administer vaccines for suitable RCH residents based on the latter's best interest.
     In addition, the Centre for Health Protection of the DH has recently updated the vaccination arrangement for the Sinovac vaccine for residents of RCHEs and RCHDs. For residents previously administered with the Sinovac vaccine and had previous COVID-19 infection, the interval that they can receive another dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been shortened from 90 days to at least 28 days after recovery. For the residents who have been assessed by the doctors that they are only suitable for receiving the BioNTech vaccine, or who wish to receive the BioNTech vaccine, the medical teams are arranging visits to the relevant RCHs to provide outreach service to these residents.
Ends/Friday, April 15, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:15
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