Local experts to consider third COVID-19 booster shot only during Autumn and Winter

Dr. Ronald Lam Man Kin

22nd July 2021 – (Hong Kong) The COVID-19 variant virus is raging around the world. Recently, studies have pointed out that the anti-body level for COVID-19 vaccinated persons may not last for a long time.  The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (JSC) convened a meeting today to discuss vaccine-related matters.

Dr. Ronald Lam Man Kin, controller of the Centre for Health Protection, pointed out in a press conference just now that discussion was held whether the vaccine can be vaccinated in different time periods and whether people who have completed the COVID-19 vaccine need to receive the third dose. He pointed out that as of yesterday, the first and second doses of vaccination administered had exceeded 5 million, but the coverage rate for the elderly was only 4.8%, which is the focus of the future vaccination plan, because the disease and mortality of the elderly are the highest among all age groups. If the mutant virus enters the community, there is a risk that a large number of elderly people will be infected. People are urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible and avoid unnecessary travel. Earlier studies indicated that the vaccine’s effect on variant viruses has decreased, and many countries are considering vaccinating the public with a third dose of COVID-19 booster.

Professor Lau Yu-lung, Chair of Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases said that there are data showing that the antibody is still at a sufficient level within the first 6 months of vaccination. It is recommended to wait for 2 to 3 months later towards autumn and winter before considering administering third shot. By then, 70-80% of the population will have been vaccinated.

He explained that although the Sinovac vaccine has fewer antibodies, in reality both Sinovac and Comirnaty vaccines have similar effects in avoiding severe illness and death. The T cell responses produced by the two vaccines are not the same, and the antibodies are only used to cut off the infection and not to reduce the severity of infection, it is recommended that if the elderly are worried about serious side effects, they can still receive the Sinovac vaccine.