The Health Bureau (SSM) has admitted that Macao’s Covid-19 vaccination rate among public medical workers has only increased at a “slow” pace over the past few months and that a small number of public medical workers “do not believe” that Covid-19 vaccines are safe.
Tai Wa Hou, a clinical director of the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, admitted last week that public medical workers’ vaccination rate had slowly increased to 67 per cent from the 65 per cent reported in May. Tai said he believed that the increase had reached a “bottleneck”, so it was unlikely to constantly increase at a relatively fast pace.
Tai admitted that while certain public medical workers were unable to get vaccinated against Covid-19 due to certain health reasons such as pregnancy, planning for pregnancy or vaccine allergies, a small number of public medical workers had chosen not to have their jabs due to their view that Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe, or because they believed there was no need to get inoculated as Macao was safe from Covid-19.
Tai said, “We don’t know what to do” with those who insist on not getting inoculated, vaccinations are voluntary in Macao.
Tai added that around two-thirds of public medical workers have been inoculated, representing a vaccination rate higher than members of the general public – which currently stands at 46.7 per cent.
“I have repeatedly said that medical workers have the responsibility and obligation to be inoculated against Covid-19 so as to protect themselves and their patients. They, as role models for residents, should have had a vaccination rate higher than what it is,” Tai said.
“Whenever I see my colleagues, I ask them whether they have had their jabs, or why they have still not got the jabs. Although I am their superior, they do not need to explain why they have still not got the jabs,” Tai said.
Tai said that some of his colleagues had replied to him that they “simply” chose not to be inoculated against Covid-19 for the time being, adding that “we don’t know what to do with them.”
“I admit that a small number [of public medical workers] do not believe Covid-19 vaccine’s safety,” Tai said.
“I have told them that their view [that Covid-19 vaccine is unsafe] is wrong. Instead, Covid-19 vaccines are absolutely safe and effective. Compared to members of the general public, medical workers should be even more willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19,” Tai said, adding that “regrettably, there are some medical workers who have chosen not to get vaccinated.”
Tai quoted some public medical workers who had chosen not to get vaccinated for the time being as telling him: “Even though I am working at a medical institution, I am safe from Covid-19. I don’t think I need to get jabs now until I face a dangerous situation. It’s still not too late to get the jabs before I need to travel [outside Macao],” reported the Macau Post Daily.
Tai underlined that although Covid-19 vaccines were developed in a shorter time than previous vaccines does not mean that they are unsafe.
Tai said that a large amount of data has demonstrated Covid-19 vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. He said that four billion doses had been administered worldwide, which fully demonstrated the Covid-19 vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. Tai said he believed that most medical workers in Macao recognise Covid-19 vaccines’ benefits, and also understand the importance and urgency of getting vaccinations.
“Of course, different individuals have their own views, but if some doctors tell you that the [Covid-19] vaccines are unsafe, please tell them on my behalf that their views are wrong,” Tai said.