Vaccination is the key to co-living with the COVID-19 virus by turning pandemic into an endemic

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15th January 2022 – (Hong Kong) Professor Lau Yulung, the chairman of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases attended a radio program this morning (15th) and called on citizens who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to make an appointment for vaccination as soon as possible, no matter which vaccine is available. There are still more than 500,000 seniors over 70 years old who have not yet received the first dose. If they are unfortunately infected, the chance of severe illness and death is many times higher than the seniors who have been vaccinated. He hopes that around the Lunar New Year, an additional 300,000 seniors over the age of 70 will be vaccinated with the first dose to counter the risk of a large-scale spread of the Omicron variant in the community in the coming weeks. Lau pointed out that as for which vaccine to receive, it is up to the public to choose. In the end, neither vaccine can effectively prevent Omicron infection, but both vaccines can trigger T-cell responses, and their main function is to prevent severe illness and death.

He continued to point out that even those who have been vaccinated with the third dose of Comirnaty to prevent infection with Omicron variant, the antibodies will be reduced to the point where they cannot prevent infection after two or three months. Therefore, the society must learn to focus on preventing severe deaths. The main premise of coexistence with COVID-19 is to increase the vaccination rate to the whole population, so as to reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 from the original two percentage points to less than one thousandth to prevent the medical system from collapsing.

Hong Kong will then have the conditions for COVID-19 to turn from a pandemic into an endemic. Lau also pointed out that more than 80% of people in Africa have not yet received the first shot, so the world will not step out of the pandemic. It is expected that another variant of the COVID-19 will appear in Africa in the near future, which may be more infectious than Omicron with higher pathogenicity. Therefore, he believes that Hong Kong should not plan for the fourth dose for the time being, but should first assist the African people to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

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