Hong Kong authorities announced on Thursday that the digital vaccination pass, which controls which premises residents can visit, will be extended to children aged five and over.
New rules mean any the child those over the age of five must present a QR code confirming vaccination to enter restaurants, swimming pools, libraries and other places.
Hong Kong follows a looser version of China’s zero-covid policy, under which infections are suppressed by strict border controls, lockdowns and social distancing measures.
It is also rolling out a “Leave Home Safe” program to keep vaccination records and track movements.
Those wishing to enter most public spaces must scan a QR code that shows their vaccination status. Until now, this only applied to people aged 12 and over.
But by the end of September, children aged five and over will need to have at least one vaccine dose within the last three months and two doses by November 30.
Deputy Health Minister Libby Lee said children could use paper certificates and parents could save their children’s vaccine records on their phones.
Hong Kong leader John Lee supported the plan.
“All data and expertise have fully confirmed that vaccination has a positive effect on children’s health,” he said.
However, some health experts have expressed concern.
“There is no ethical or scientific justification for coercive or mandatory vaccination of children,” David Owens, a Hong Kong doctor who has written a series of analyzes of Hong Kong’s pandemic response, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“Now we have widespread population immunity (including children). I remain pro-vaccination, but the current benefit-to-risk does not support mandatory or forced vaccination,” he added.
About 89 percent of the Hong Kong population is fully vaccinated with two or more doses.
But authorities have struggled to convince the elderly, among the more than 100,000 residents over the age of 80 who have so far not received a single dose of the vaccine.
That proved disastrous when the coronavirus tore through the city earlier this year, killing thousands of mostly elderly patients and leaving Hong Kong with the highest death rate per capita in Asia.
About 83 percent children ages 5-11 received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 70 percent received two shots.
© 2022 AFP
Citation: Hong Kong to roll out digital vaccination for children aged five and above (2022, September 8) Retrieved September 8, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-09-hong-kong-digital-vaccine-kids .html
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