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Government further extends outreach vaccination service special programme for residential care homes till mid-February
     In a bid to keep strengthening the protection for residents of residential care homes (RCHs) for the elderly and persons with disabilities, the Government announced today (January 17) further extension of the outreach vaccination service special programme for RCHs for four weeks till mid-February.

     According to experts' recommendation, adult residents who have not been infected with COVID-19 and had received the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine should receive the fourth dose at least 90 days after receiving the third dose. In this connection, the Government launched a new round of outreach vaccination service special programme for RCHs on November 25 last year and subsequently extended the special programme for four weeks till January 20 this year, thus expediting the increase in vaccination rates of RCH residents with a view to fortifying the protection barrier for RCHs.

     Owing to the efforts of the RCH sector and medical teams, over 9 000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to RCH residents under the special programme since its launch in November. At present, the vaccination rates of the first four doses in RCHs are 96 per cent, 95 per cent, 88 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. Taking into account the recovered residents who had received three doses of vaccine, the effective vaccination rate equivalent to that of having received the fourth dose in RCHs has surpassed 75 per cent. In fact, infected RCH residents constitute only a relatively low proportion among all hospitalisation cases so far. This indicates that the protection barrier built by driving up the vaccination rate can effectively lower the risks of severe cases and deaths for RCH residents in case of infection.

     Considering that more activities may be held in RCHs during the Lunar New Year, the waning protection by vaccination over time, that confirmed cases involving RCH residents and staff are still being reported from time to time, and the persistent threat posed by the winter surge of seasonal influenza, it is necessary for the Government to keep driving up the vaccination rate of RCH residents. As such, the Government further extended the outreach vaccination service special programme for RCHs for four weeks till February 17. Same as the current arrangement, medical teams will visit RCHs at least once a week to provide outreach vaccination service, with a view to administering vaccines to every resident who is due to get vaccinated (the fourth dose in particular). In addition, medical teams will also provide seasonal influenza vaccination concurrently for residents to attain dual protection. A special allowance will be offered to medical teams participating in the special programme to cover the additional manpower and transportation costs arising from the extension of the programme.

     A Government spokesman said, "The young and the old are still our targeted group for encouraging COVID-19 vaccination. Residents who have yet to receive suitable doses of vaccine should take action and get vaccinated as soon as possible for self-protection. Despite our adjustment to a series of anti-epidemic measures earlier, including the Vaccine Pass requirement applicable to RCH residents and visitors, members of the public cannot let the guard down. We also call on the RCH sector and medical teams to keep reinforcing their collaboration so as to further increase the COVID-19 vaccination rate of residents and strive to safeguard their health."
Ends/Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Issued at HKT 15:01
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