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New guidelines prompt rush for Covid-19 vaccinations

Number of vaccinees doubles in the space of a week, while 10,000 are booking a jab every day, compared to 2,000 previously.

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Number of vaccinees doubles in the space of a week, while 10,000 are booking a jab every day, compared to 2,000 previously.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:47 am

Many more residents are getting vaccinated or making bookings for Covid-19 jabs following the Health Bureau’s (SSM) new measures which were introduced on Monday.

The SSM decreed that anyone who meets service users in the course of their job or who worked indoors would need to be tested regularly if they had not been inoculated. 

Leong Iek Hou, the SSM’s Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator reaffirmed that the new measure doesn’t force residents to be inoculated, nor does it bar unjabbed people from going to work, as they can choose to take a “substitute” measure by undergoing a Covid-19 test regularly.

According to Leong, 3,000 to 4,000 people have had their Covid-19 jabs per day on average over the past two days, compared to just around 2,000 people per day on average over the past week. 

The number of people who have booked a Covid-19 jab per day has increased to 10,000 on average over the past two days, from around 2,000 on average over the past few weeks, according to Leong.

The SSM published new guidelines on Monday on Covid-19 vaccinations and nucleic acid testing (NAT) for “all staff members” in the city, requiring all those in contact with service users during their work, or all those who share a “confined” workplace with others, to be tested for Covid-19 once every week, or even more frequently, if they have not been inoculated against the novel coronavirus.

In general, the tests will not be free of charge, usually costing MOP 80 each.

SSM officials have since elaborated on the new guidelines, saying that “most indoor workplaces” are regarded as “confined” workplaces. The officials confirmed that the new measure will cover almost the entire working population in the city, regardless of whether working in the public or the private sectors, except for a very few groups such as freelancers.

The new guidelines state that “all staff members” have the responsibility to be inoculated against the novel coronavirus so as to prevent Covid-19 transmissions in the workplace. 

SSM officials reaffirmed that the new measure aims to ensure workplace safety. The officials also said that the required frequency of the NATs for those who have not been inoculated will depend on their respective occupations. The officials said that the respective public or private entities will have to draw up their own specific rules that enable them to implement the new measure.

SSM officials insisted that the new guidelines do not violate the Macao government’s principle that Covid-19 vaccinations are voluntary. Leong reaffirmed that the new measure complies with the National Health Commission’s principle that Covid-19 vaccinations should only be administered on a voluntary basis. 

Leong also said that this new measure does not violate the NHC’s Covid-19 vaccination principle that unjabbed people should not be barred from entering major public venues that are important for people’s daily life such as supermarkets, hospitals, bus terminals and schools.

As of 4 pm yesterday, 633,071 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered to 338,450 people in Macao, and the vaccination rate stood at 49.6 per cent, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:47 am

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