Health Bureau (SS) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long said yesterday that “there is no doubt” that a fifth Covid-19 jab will be recommended in Macao.
Lo was replying to a question by indirectly-elected lawmaker-cum-unionist Lam Lon Wai during a plenary session in the Legislative Assembly.
Lam asked whether people in Macao would need to receive a Covid-19 jab regularly in the long term. Lo also said that the SS is currently collecting and studying the latest research findings and Covid-19 vaccination practices worldwide, such as the required interval between the fourth and fifth dose.
Nevertheless, Lo was quick to note that Macao had been hit by widespread “natural” Covid-19 infections for a period of time – which came after the government abandoned its long-running dynamic zero-Covid approach in early December, because of which, he said, the local government would still need to monitor Macao’s Covid-19 situation for some time in the near future before deciding when to roll out the fifth Covid-19 jab.
Both types of Covid-19 vaccines currently available in Macao, China’s Sinopharm inactivated vaccine and Germany’s BioNTech mRNA vaccine, are two-dose vaccines, requiring two jabs to develop basic full immunity.
Currently, the SS advises those aged 18 or over to receive a total of four Covid-19 jabs, comprising the first two jabs that provide basic full immunity and two booster shots.
The bureau currently advises those aged between 5 and 17 to receive three BioNTech mRNA jabs, comprising the first two jabs providing basic full immunity and a booster shot. Those in this age group whose parents choose the Sinopharm inactivated vaccine for them can receive the first two jabs that provide basic full immunity, and if the booster jab is wanted, they can only choose the BioNTech mRNA vaccine.
Currently, potential BioNTech mRNA vaccinees aged between six months and four years require three jabs, instead of two, to develop basic full immunity. Those in this age group are currently not covered by the bureau’s Covid-19 booster vaccination programme.
Potential Sinopharm vaccinees aged between three and four years can also receive the first two jabs that provide basic full immunity. Currently, the Sinopharm vaccine is only administered to over-threes.
Currently, the SS advises that regardless of their Covid-19 infection history, everyone should receive the same number of Covid-19 jabs depending on their age.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U reaffirmed that the Macao government will adjust its Covid-19 vaccination practices after referencing the respective practices in various places worldwide.
Ao Ieong also reminded that those who have been infected with the novel coronavirus should wait at least three months before getting a Covid-19 jab. More specifically, they should only get their jab at least three months after their last Covid-19 positive result, either in a nucleic acid test or a rapid antigen test, The Macau Post Daily reported.