Health Bureau (SSM) officials have hastened to allay public fears about the Covid-19 vaccination programme, stressing that both China’s Sinopharm inactivated jabs and Germany’s BioNTech mRNA shots are safe, and the probability of serious adverse effects is very low.
Tai Wa Hou, who heads up the SSM’s vaccination programme said that the vaccines were thoroughly reliable and since the launch of the drive last month, some 40,000 people out of a population of 680,000 – around 17,000 of them having taken their first jab already – have made an appointment for their Covid-19 jabs, 4,000 of whom have chosen BioNTech. The total includes about 6,500 seniors aged 60 or over, 1,470 of whom have chosen mRNA.
Tai also revealed that 100 citizens aged 60 or over who wanted the Sinopharm jabs have failed to pass the health status assessment questionnaire on the government’s Covid-19 vaccination online appointment system, adding that 50 of them have instead chosen BioNTech jabs, while the others cancelled their appointments.
The statement underlined that so far there have been no cases of serious adverse events after getting inoculated against Covid-19 reported. Since the launch of the vaccination drive last month, nine cases of minor adverse events have been reported, the statement said.
Responding to questions about the death of a 63-year-old man in Hong Kong after being inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine,Tai noted that while both Sinovac and Sinopharm jabs are inactivated vaccines, they are developed by two different pharmaceutical companies.
“The jabs administered in Hong Kong and the Sinopharm inactivated jabs given in Macao are different brands,” he said.
“I have to stress that the two kinds of vaccines administered to residents are both very safe, and the probability of serious side effects is very low, so residents can be reassured they can get their jabs,” Tai said.
According to RTHK, the Hong Kong government’s panel of experts – the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following Covid-19 Immunisation – took the view that the 63-year-old patient likely died of a heart attack on Sunday, and that his death had no direct link with the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine that he received two days before.
Tai also underlined that adverse events which might occur after getting inoculated against Covid-19 are not necessarily caused by the vaccine.
Tai urged residents not to lose confidence in Covid-19 vaccinations merely due to “very occasional events”.
Tai noted that only a small number of people who have had either Sinopharm jabs or BioNTech jabs would possibly suffer minor side effects such as headache, fever, injection-site pain or sleeplessness, The Macau Post Daily reported.
Sinopharm vaccine is developed by Beijing Institute of Biological Products under the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which is affiliated with the state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (also known as Sinopharm). Sinovac vaccine is developed by Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech. BioNTech in Macao is distributed by Shanghai-based Fosun.