Update on monitoring COVID-19 vaccination
As at 8pm on November 20, around 19.93 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered for members of the public. Around 6.90 million people had received at least one dose of vaccine, including 95 per cent of the population aged 12 or above. The DH received 8 043 reports of adverse events (0.04 per cent of the total vaccine doses administered). Among the death cases concerning persons who had been vaccinated, including 120 cases (Note 2) with vaccination within 14 days before they passed away (0.0006 per cent of the total vaccine doses administered), none of the death cases were associated with vaccination.
As of today, the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following COVID-19 Immunisation had concluded that 111 death cases had no causal relationship with vaccination, while for one case the causal relationship with vaccination could not be established, and preliminarily considered that four cases were not associated with vaccination. Four cases are still pending further information for assessment. The Expert Committee considered that there is no unusual pattern identified so far, and will continue to closely monitor the relevant situation and collect data for assessment.
According to information from the HA, during the period from October 24 to November 20, the overall ratio of death cases was 48.3 cases for every 100 000 people, whereas the average ratio of death cases for the same period in 2018 to 2020 was 45.0 cases for every 100 000 people. Among these death cases, the ratio of death cases with acute stroke or acute myocardial infarction was 2.9 cases for every 100 000 people, whereas the average ratio of death cases under the same category for the same period in 2018 to 2020 was 2.8 cases for every 100 000 people. Furthermore, the ratio of miscarriage cases was 13.4 cases for every 100 000 people, whereas the average ratio of miscarriage cases for the same period in 2018 to 2020 was 19.7 cases for every 100 000 people. Based on the statistical analysis of the above figures, there is no evidence that vaccination increases the risk of death or miscarriage for recipients. The relevant reference statistics will be uploaded to the thematic website for the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.
The majority of non-death cases of adverse events received so far are relatively minor cases. The relevant details can be found in the "Report on the Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccines in Hong Kong" (www.drugoffice.gov.hk/eps/do/en/doc/Safety_Monitoring_of_COVID-19_Vaccines_in_Hong_Kong.pdf).
A Government spokesman said, "The recent epidemic situation in Hong Kong is volatile. Although the figures of severe cases and deaths have not recorded a marked increase, the community must continue to be vigilant. Deaths and severe cases involving children and elderly persons have been recorded in the fifth wave of the epidemic. For elderly persons, the COVID-19 vaccination rate for the elderly aged 80 or above in Hong Kong is only around 72 per cent at present, meaning that around 28 per cent of the elderly in that age group are in a dangerous situation, which is alarming.
"According to preliminary data analysis, out of the cases reported in the fifth wave, over 95 per cent of the fatal cases are elderly people aged 60 or above, with the proportion of death and hospitalised cases being the highest in those aged 80 or above. Most of the deceased cases are unvaccinated persons. As compared to the Hong Kong overall population, those who have received three doses of vaccine account for a much lower proportion among reported cases, and an extremely low proportion among the hospitalised critical/serious and deceased cases. This demonstrates the efficacy of three doses of vaccine in preventing infection, serious illness and fatality from COVID-19. The research data from the University of Hong Kong also shows that receiving three doses of either the Comirnaty or CoronaVac vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe cases and deaths with an efficacy of over 90 per cent. Members of the public who are currently eligible for a third dose should get the third dose as soon as possible.
"At present, persons aged 50 or above who had received three doses of vaccine may receive the fourth dose three months at minimum after the third dose. People aged 18 to 49 may also choose to receive the fourth dose after considering the individual risk and benefit (e.g. at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure or with personal needs). In addition to elderly persons, children are also our focus of protection in vaccination. In addition to the CoronaVac vaccine, children aged 6 months to 4 years may also receive the toddler formulation of the BioNTech vaccine, providing one more option to parents. Children have weaker resistance and can be in a severe condition should they get infected with the COVID-19 virus. They may also develop medium- and long-term after-effects after recovery. Vaccination can reduce the risks of serious illness and death. We appeal to parents to seize the opportunity and make COVID-19 vaccination bookings for their children as soon as possible for the sake of their health."
The spokesman also reminded that the vaccination requirements for persons aged 12 or above under the Vaccine Pass will be changed to having received three doses of vaccine starting November 30. Members of the public should receive the respective dosage of vaccine timely, so that they can get better protection for themselves and continue to use the Vaccine Pass for entering applicable premises.
Note 1: Provisional figures. In the preceding week till 11.59pm on November 20, the DH did not receive any reports of suspected myocarditis or pericarditis involving adolescents in the age group of 3 to 15, and did not receive any reports of serious or unexpected adverse events following COVID-19 immunisation for children aged under 3.
Note 2: In the preceding week till 11.59pm on November 20, the DH did not receive any death reports involving individuals who had received COVID-19 vaccination within 14 days before passing away.
Ends/Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:18
Issued at HKT 18:18