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Transcript of remarks by S for Health on anti-epidemic measures and COVID-19 Vaccination Medical Exemption Certificate
    The Secretary for Health, Professor Lo Chung-mau, received both the seasonal influenza vaccination and the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today (September 22). Also present were the Permanent Secretary for Health, Mr Thomas Chan; the Director of Health, Dr Ronald Lam; the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, Dr Edwin Tsui; the Chairman of the Hospital Authority (HA), Mr Henry Fan; the Director of Cluster Services of the HA, Dr Simon Tang; and frontline healthcare workers. Following is the transcript of remarks by Professor Lo at the meet-the-media session:
Reporter: Secretary, is there any new timetable or progress for scrapping hotel quarantine or the so-called "0+7" policy? About people being arrested for using fake vaccination exemptions, what is the criteria and will there be tighter regulation on this?
Secretary for Health: The Government is considering every option to try to improve our economic activities as well as our connections with the international world. We are considering the logistics, and at the right time we will make the announcement with every detail. Regarding the recent incidents of medical professionals issuing medical exemption certificates, abusing this and making fraudulent certificates, we are deeply concerned. These cases are under criminal investigations. I must emphasise that as a medical professional, I am deeply disappointed by the action of such because we are entrusted by the public and we have the duty to protect our citizens from public health risks and threats. We have very clear guidelines and criteria for issuing these medical exemption certificates, and this is based on the huge experience from the COVID-19 vaccination programmes. I must emphasise that COVID-19 vaccine is a very safe vaccine, there are very few contraindications for vaccination and some of these contraindications are of very short term. So considering the fact that some of these clinics regularly issued over a hundred or even thousands of certificates for exemptions from public vaccine, this is definitely highly suspicious. I would certainly urge both our medical professionals and the public to avoid doing this. This is a criminal offence. It is important to note that not just the production or issuance of such exemption certificates is a criminal offence which may possibly result in imprisonment for 14 years, the use and possession of such certificates may also be a criminal offence with the same penalty.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Thursday, September 22, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:17
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