Covid-19 shots for blue card holders, int’l students to be free of charge

The government has decided that local residents, non-resident workers and non-resident students will receive their shots free-of-charge, Dr Alvis Lo of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center announced at yesterday’s weekly press briefing.
Previously, the government only announced that Macau’s citizens will be able to enjoy a free vaccination for Covid-19 if they request one, not mentioning whether the city’s migrant workers and international students would be covered.
“Macau residents, non-resident workers and [international] students who are attending local schools [are covered]. This is our vaccination plan which, in addition to protecting individuals, can also create [herd] immunity,” said Lo.
The government announced last week that it will arrange insurance for Covid-19 vaccine recipients, just in case they develop any side effects.
As the government has set the target of rolling out local Covid-19 vaccinations within the first quarter of this year, the authorities have provided more details regarding the scheme yesterday, although the date is still unconfirmed.
Previously, several senior officials, including Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, have stressed that according to laws, vaccination in Macau has to be voluntary.
Yesterday, Lo reiterated this stand when he was questioned whether vaccine recipients have the freedom to choose which type of vaccine to take.
“First, the vaccine recipients should be fully aware [of the activity, side effects, etc.] and volunteer to take the vaccine,” Lo explained. “Second, the three types of vaccine are for recipients to choose, provided that they are available.”
With three different types of vaccines available at the best-case scenario and each vaccination requiring two shots, Lo was asked whether the vaccines are interchangeable between shots. The medical doctor answered emphatically in the negative.
As for follow-ups on recipients, according to Lo, this is not restricted to Covid-19 vaccines, as there is a side effect monitoring system in Macau to ensure the safety of all vaccine recipients.
“But judging from the population being vaccinated so far, the safety of the vaccines should not be a big problem,” Lo explained.
On a later date, the government will launch a website for interested individuals to book their vaccination time. Leong Iek Hou, coordinator of the Center, revealed that all recipients will undergo medical assessment and must sign a declaration of acknowledgement prior to taking their shots.
All three types of vaccine have age floors and ceilings. Leong said that, for the time being, individuals not within the age range will not be able to receive shots.
She also reiterated that getting the vaccines does not equate to the suspension on mask wearing and nucleic acid tests for border crossing. Individuals may need to receive reactivation shots regularly to retain antibody levels.
None of the vaccines has arrived in Macau yet, the center disclosed.

Public broadcaster Radio Macau reported yesterday that Macau representatives of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have taken their first shot recently in Zhuhai, under the arrangement of the central government’s Liaison Office.
The vaccine shots were administered in Zhuhai in light of the upcoming key events in Beijing’s political calendar in Beijing in March.
Lawmaker Vong Hin Fai told the media outlet that the majority of them went to a hospital in Zhuhai to take the first jab, while the second dose will be given beginning of next month.
The delegates have received the Chinese-made vacccine, Sinopharm.

One of the two self-selected quarantine hotels, the Sheraton Grand Macao, is applying a black-out period on its quarantine hotel mission between February 6 and 19. It has hence suspended taking new quarantine bookings as of January 16, according to a Macao Government Tourism Office official at the press briefing.
The resort at which the hotel is located, the Londoner Macao, is set to officially open on February 8. Although the tourism official did not disclose the reason behind the hotel’s decision, it is believed to be connected to the slated opening.

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