Local expert says Vaccine Pass can only be waived if vaccination rate reaches 95%, mask requirement to stay till spring 2023


20th May 2022 – (Hong Kong) At the end of this month, the Vaccine Pass will enter the third stage. At that time, citizens over the age of 12 will have to take 3 vaccination shots before entering restaurants and other scheduled premises. However, some experts believe that the fifth wave has built a herd immunity and it is recommended to exempt adults under the age of 60 from using Vaccine Pass when entering scheduled premises.

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, Chair Professor of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Christopher David Lung, honorary clinical associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong and Dr. Siddharth Sridhar, Clinical Assistant Professor at the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong jointly wrote an article today, pointing out that the Vaccine Pass can effectively promote vaccination. If it is limited to the elderly, it will violate the principle of fairness. The operators will also have difficulty implementing measures for certain age groups only. They also pointed out that after the relaxation of social distancing measures, cluster outbreaks are expected, and there is a risk for unvaccinated persons to enter designated premises.

Yuen also emphasised on the radio program this morning that persons under the age of 60 but with chronic diseases have no lower risk of infection, severe illness and death than healthy seniors over the age of 70. He reiterated that only when the vaccination rate reaches 95%, the Vaccine Pass requirement can be cancelled. However, masks still need to be worn by citizens till next spring.

In addition, if a virus stronger than the Omicron variant virus is not found at the peak of the flu season this winter, the wearing of masks can be relaxed.

Meanwhile, the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr.Sophia Chan, also wrote an article reiterating that Vaccine Pass is still a necessary epidemic prevention and control measure, which will help the social and economic activities of the public and all sectors of society to resume normal. If the requirements for the Vaccine Pass are lowered, it may reduce the public’s willingness to be vaccinated and cause renewed hesitation.

She believes that the Vaccine Pass is an incentive to increase vaccination, and it is a necessary part to require people entering the premises to be injected under reasonable circumstances, so that the society can operate safely and normally.