A further 400,000 doses of Sinopharm inactivated vaccines were delivered to Macau on Sunday after a 30-hour drive from Beijing, The Macau Post Daily reported.
The delivery marks another step forward in the city-wide vaccination campaign, which will move into a new phase on Wednesday when the German-made BioNTech inoculations start. As the German jabs require strict temperature storage conditions, they will be administered at the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre for the next two weeks, only after which they will also be available at public health centres and public health stations.
Health Bureau (SSM) Director Lei Chin Ion commented that 600,425 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been delivered to Macao which will be sufficient for 300,000 residents – just under half the population of 680,000 – to get two jabs.
Lei said that since the launch of the government’s free vaccination drive, some 30,000 residents have made an appointment to be inoculated. He admitted that some residents have adopted “a wait-and-see attitude” about deciding whether to have their jabs as Macao currently has no active cases.
Lei insisted that Macao has a “sound” achievement concerning the number of residents making an appointment to get their jabs considering that the city currently isn’t directly impacted by the pandemic.
“Compared to some other places like Hong Kong and the UK, we have differences [in the percentage of the population having had COVID-19 jabs],” he said.
“This is natural because Macao has no [Covid-19] epidemic and no patients. It is natural that residents are adopting a wait-and-see attitude.”
The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre has stated that so far, 32,050 people have made an appointment for their Covid-19 jabs, and 14,426 have had their first one.
Lei also pointed out that Macao has ordered some 1.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, including 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford adenovirus vector vaccines, and 200,000 doses of vaccines from the COVAX Facility – the global vaccine allocation plan jointly run by the World Health Organisation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Lei also revealed that Gavi has said that 60,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines could be provided to Macao. As Macao has already received Sinopharm and BioNTech jabs, the local government has decided not to accept the COVAX vaccines for the time being so as to “avoid waste” and told Gavi to allocate the jabs to countries and regions in need.
Lei also reaffirmed that the second batch of 100,000 BioNTech vaccines will be delivered to Macao later this month.