Information on Vaccines

What's New

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the strategy of the Government to procure COVID-19 vaccines?
  2. What are the types of COVID-19 vaccines?
  3. What are the types of vaccines now purchased by the Government?
  4. What are the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines?
  5. How many dosages are needed for COVID-19 vaccines?
  6. What are the possible side effects and limitations of COVID-19 vaccines?
  7. What is "Electronic Vaccination Record"?
  8. How does the Government ensure that the vaccines received by the public are safe and effective?
  9. What is the regulation and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines?

Vaccination Programme and Locations

  1. What is the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme?
  2. Can members of the public choose the type of vaccine to be administered?
  3. How does a Community Vaccination Centre operate?

Understanding Vaccines: Facts and Myths

  1. Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity?
  2. Diseases cause me less harm than vaccines?
  3. Vaccines contain toxic ingredients?
  4. Vaccines can weaken my immune system?
  5. For all vaccines, I can be immunised for life with just one injection?

Busting Myths about COVID-19 Vaccines

  1. COVID-19 vaccines are not safe because they were developed and tested quickly?
  2. The mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 will alter human DNA?
  3. Many people recover from COVID-19 infection and so we do not need a vaccine?
  4. COVID-19 vaccines can control the population through microchip tracking or implanting something in the human brain?
  5. The four facial paralysis cases that participated in the BioNTech/Fosun vaccine clinical trial earlier were confirmed to be related to the vaccine?

Infographics

“Understanding Vaccines: Facts and Myths” Series
Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity?
Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity?

“Understanding Vaccines: Facts and Myths” Series
Diseases cause me less harm than vaccines?
Diseases cause me less harm than vaccines?

“Understanding Vaccines: Facts and Myths” Series
Vaccines contain toxic ingredients?
Vaccines contain toxic ingredients?

“Understanding Vaccines: Facts and Myths” Series
Vaccines can weaken my immune system?
Vaccines can weaken my immune system?

“Understanding Vaccines: Facts and Myths” Series
For all vaccines, I can be immunised for life with just one injection?
For all vaccines, I can be immunised for life with just one injection?

“Busting Myths about COVID-19 Vaccines” Series
COVID-19 vaccines are not safe because they were developed and tested quickly?
COVID-19 vaccines are not safe because they were developed and tested quickly?

“Busting Myths about COVID-19 Vaccines” Series
The mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 will alter human DNA?
The mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 will alter human DNA?

“Busting Myths about COVID-19 Vaccines” Series
Many people recover from COVID-19 infection and so we do not need a vaccine?
Many people recover from COVID-19 infection and so we do not need a vaccine?

How Hong Kong defeats viruses · The chapter on vaccines
Hong Kong has been polio-free
Hong Kong has been polio-free

Battle between human and viruses · The chapter on vaccines
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B

Battle between human and viruses · The chapter on vaccines
Measles
Measles

"Chasing Vaccine" series

1. A brief introduction to vaccines
(Professor Hung Fan Ngai, Ivan)
A brief introduction to vaccines (Professor Hung Fan Ngai, Ivan)


2. Vaccination uptake rate
(Dr Tsang Ho Fai, Thomas)
Vaccination uptake rate (Dr Tsang Ho Fai, Thomas)


3. Understanding vaccines
(Dr Tsang Ho Fai, Thomas)
Understanding vaccines (Dr Tsang Ho Fai, Thomas)


4. Mixed use of different brands
(Professor Hui Shu Cheong, David)
Mixed use of different brands (Professor Hui Shu Cheong, David)
5. Prioritising different target groups for vaccination
(Professor Hui Shu Cheong, David)
Prioritising different target groups for vaccination (Professor Hui Shu Cheong, David)


6. Safeguarding the health of people
(Professor Hui Shu Cheong, David)
Safeguarding the health of people (Professor Hui Shu Cheong, David)


7. Co-administration with other vaccines
(Professor Hung Fan Ngai, Ivan)
Co-administration with other vaccines (Professor Hung Fan Ngai, Ivan)


8. Available Vaccines
(Professor Leung Matthew Gabriel)
Available Vaccines (Professor Leung Matthew Gabriel)


9. Points to note about vaccination
(Professor Leung Matthew Gabriel)
Points to note about vaccination (Professor Leung Matthew Gabriel)


10. Get vaccinated for yourself, your family and Hong Kong
(Professor Leung Mathew Gabriel)
Get vaccinated for yourself, your family and Hong Kong (Professor Leung Mathew Gabriel)


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the strategy of the Government to procure COVID-19 vaccines?

  2. The Government has earlier made an announcement in September this year that it would adopt a "two-pronged" strategy to procure vaccines for protecting against COVID-19 for the entire Hong Kong population. The Government has on one hand joined the COVAX Facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO), and at the same time directly entered into advance purchase agreements with individual vaccine developers for obtaining greater supplies of vaccines at an earlier time. The purpose of signing advance purchase agreements is to reserve in advance vaccines which have a higher chance of success for Hong Kong citizens, notwithstanding that the vaccines are still in the development process and have yet to obtain full approval from the relevant local regulatory authorities.

  3. What are the types of COVID-19 vaccines?

  4. COVID-19 vaccines are mainly developed from four different technology platforms, including inactivated, viral vector, nucleic acid and protein subunit. The Government has consulted the Joint Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases under the Department of Health (membership list of the committee can be found on the website of the Centre for Health Protection: www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/24002.html) and the Government's four experts on anti-epidemic efforts regarding the above technology platforms and the candidate vaccines from each of the technology platforms which have basically entered into phase 3 clinical trial. The experts took the view that each technology platform has its merits. The experts also understood that the Government should procure candidate vaccines developed from different vaccine manufacturers and from different technology platforms. It should also procure sufficient doses to cover for at least two times the Hong Kong population, with a view to diversifying risks and ensuring sufficient supplies of vaccines for the whole population of Hong Kong.

  5. What are the types of vaccines now purchased by the Government?

  6. The developers/manufacturers of the three vaccines now purchased by the Government are Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) Limited (inactivated virus vaccine), Fosun Pharma/German drug developer BioNTech (nucleic acid vaccine) and AstraZeneca/University of Oxford (viral vector vaccine) respectively. These vaccines are frontrunners in terms of the progress of scientific research and technology development and clinical trials from the three respective technology platforms. The Government's decision on procurement of the relevant vaccines is reached after having made reference to the experts' views on candidate vaccines and having considered factors such as the quantity and timing of supply, logistics and storage methods, etc. The decision on procurement of vaccines is made based on the considerations of safety, efficacy, quality and supply, and does not in any way involve political factors.

  7. What are the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines?

  8. Allowing members of the public to be administered with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is crucial to the resumption of the normal ways of life in Hong Kong. According to currently available information, the vaccines the Government plans to purchase are effective in providing protection against COVID-19. The Government will continuously monitor the updated information related to the effectiveness of the vaccines. Vaccination not only protects those who get vaccinated, it also protects the others. Some people may not be suitable to receive the vaccine e.g. those with severe allergy to some vaccine components. These people can still be protected if they live amongst others who are vaccinated because when a lot of people in a community are vaccinated, the pathogen has a hard time circulating because most of the people it encounters are immune.

  9. How many dosages are needed for COVID-19 vaccines?

  10. According to information provided by the drug companies on the vaccines planned to be procured, individuals are required to receive two doses of the same vaccine in order to build up adequate protection.

  11. What are the possible side effects and limitations of COVID-19 vaccines?

  12. In general, the majority of vaccines are safe. Common side effects are usually mild and temporary e.g. mild fever, soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Some may experience more severe, but in general rare, adverse effects. It is a matter of fact that the research and development period of COVID-19 vaccines is greatly compressed as compared to other regular vaccines. Hence, the occurrence of rare or unpredictable severe adverse event after widespread vaccination on the population cannot be completely ruled out. The Government will monitor any adverse event that occurs to the recipient associated with the administration of the relevant vaccine.

  13. What is "Electronic Vaccination Record"?

  14. The Government has set up a website (www.evt.gov.hk) to facilitate public downloading of their own electronic testing record through the COVID-19 Electronic Testing Record System (the System). The "Electronic Vaccination Record" will be added to the System at a later stage. By then, the public can download both their COVID-19 electronic testing record and vaccination record after verifying their identity through "iAM Smart".

  15. How does the Government ensure that the vaccines received by the public are safe and effective?

  16. In order to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines, all vaccines must first satisfy the relevant procedures, including completion of phase 3 clinical trials and obtaining approval (including the emergency use) by the drug regulatory authority in a place outside Hong Kong and authorized by the Secretary of Food and Health in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease (Use of Vaccines) Regulation (Cap. 599K) the use of the relevant COVID-19 vaccine in Hong Kong under the emergency situation for vaccination programmes conducted by the Government. As the global competition for vaccines is extremely vigorous, the supply in the initial stage will be tight. The Government will on one hand negotiate with vaccine developers for the early delivery for the vaccines to Hong Kong through advance purchase agreements with vaccine developers; and on the other hand, having regard to the latest scientific evidence and clinical data, continue to consult the experts for finalising the detailed arrangements for the vaccination programme, in order for members of the public to receive vaccination as early as possible.

  17. What is the regulation and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines?

  18. The Government has enacted the Prevention and Control of Disease (Use of Vaccines) Regulation (Cap. 599K) (the Regulation). According to the Regulation, the Secretary for Food and Health (the Secretary) may authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for the specified use which basically is vaccination programmes conducted by the Government. Before authorization of a vaccine, the Secretary must take advice from the advisory panel which have considered the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine. Amongst other requirements, the vaccine must also have approval of use given by a drug regulatory authority in a place outside Hong Kong or World Health Organisation. The Regulation also stipulates that the Secretary for Food and Health must put in place a mechanism for monitoring any adverse event occurred to the recipients associated with the administration of the vaccines.

    The Department of Health (DH) has an established mechanism to closely follow up on every report of adverse drug reaction (including vaccines) received. All along, DH has a pharmacovigilance system in place, and conducts causality assessment on received reports of Adverse Event Following Immunization (in particular serious adverse events) from pharmaceutical trade and healthcare professionals. The reports will be assessed to ascertain whether they are associated with the vaccination. DH also monitors the latest safety and efficacy assessment issued by drug regulatory authorities of advanced countries and jurisdictions and the references promulgated by the World Health Organization. If the risks of the vaccine considered outweigh by the benefits, DH will take appropriate actions including referral of the relevant information to the Advisory Panel for review and consideration on the necessity to revoke the authorization of the vaccine. The recommendation on revocation of the authorization will be provided to the Secretary of Food and Health for consideration. With regards to the possible adverse effect following immunisation of COVID-19 vaccines, DH will conduct monitoring in accordance with the Regulation and make reference to the prevailing mechanism, while maintaining the same level of vigilance for control.

Vaccination Programme and Locations

  1. Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity?

  2. The Government will launch the territory-wide COVID-19 Vaccination Programme (the Programme) to offer COVID-19 vaccination free of charge to all Hong Kong residents in a phased and orderly manner according to their risk categories. Participation in the Programme is on a voluntary basis. Under the Programme, COVID-19 vaccination will be available in different locations, including hospitals and clinics, and outreach to residential care homes and community vaccination centres.

  3. Diseases cause me less harm than vaccines?

  4. The Government will decide which type of vaccine to be provided depending on different circumstances, such as the groups of vaccine recipients, settings and delivery time of vaccines. It is currently expected that no more than one type of vaccine will be provided in the same period and location. If members of the public prefer to choose another type of vaccine, they can pick a different location where their preferred type of vaccine will be available.

  5. Vaccines contain toxic ingredients?

  6. To support the territory-wide COVID-19 Vaccination Programme (the Programme), the Government will set up Community Vaccination Centres in various districts starting from early 2021 to provide BioNtech vaccine for all Hong Kong residents free of charge in a phased and orderly manner according to their risk categories.

    How to make an appointment: To prevent crowds from gathering and facilitate streaming of arrangements, members of the public can schedule an appointment on the Programme’s appointment website (to be announced in due course).

    Vaccination: Upon arrival at vaccination centres, staff will explain vaccine related information to the individual and confirm the suitability for vaccination before administration. After receiving vaccination, individuals should stay for at least 15 minutes for observation before leaving.

    Locations and opening hours: To be announced in due course.

Understanding Vaccines: Facts and Myths

  1. Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity?

  2. Vaccination is one of the best ways to prevent diseases. The risks of getting the virus itself are far much higher than those of the vaccine. In total, vaccines are estimated to save between 2 and 3 million lives every year. Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defences to build protection. When we get vaccinated, we are not just protecting ourselves, but also those around us.

  3. Diseases cause me less harm than vaccines?

  4. Like any medicine, vaccines may cause side effects. They are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. More serious side effects are possible, but extremely rare. Please remember, you are far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine.

  5. Vaccines contain toxic ingredients?

  6. Vaccines contain various ingredients to keep them safe and effective. Many of the ingredients have been used for decades in billions of doses of vaccine. Each vaccine component serves a specific purpose, and each ingredient is tested in the manufacturing process. All vaccine ingredients are passed for safety.

  7. Vaccines can weaken my immune system?

  8. Vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way to protect people from harmful diseases before they are exposed. In fact, vaccines use your body's natural defence mechanism to build resistance against specific infections and strengthen your immune system.

  9. For all vaccines, I can be immunised for life with just one injection?

  10. Some vaccines only require one single dose to provide life-long protection. Nevertheless, most vaccines will require more than one dose (i.e. with the second dose, or third dose, several months apart). In addition to the above mentioned primary course of “multiple doses”, some vaccines may even require the recipient to receive a “booster dose” after a fixed period (e.g. one year, or several years after).

Busting Myths about COVID-19 Vaccines

  1. COVID-19 vaccines are not safe because they were developed and tested quickly?

  2. The COVID-19 situation warranted an emergency response. That does not mean any safety protocols or testing have been bypassed. While the development process has been expedited due to the high need for a vaccine, no short cuts have been taken. Indeed, there have been a lot of technological developments that allow vaccines to be developed much more quickly. All the ingredients in the vaccine, as well as the vaccine itself, have been fully checked and monitored to ensure its safety.

  3. The mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 will alter human DNA?

  4. mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell and does not affect our DNA either. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein (or a piece of a protein) that triggers an immune response. That immune response is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

  5. Many people recover from COVID-19 infection and so we do not need a vaccine?

  6. COVID-19 is a deadly disease that may cause severe illness – and also long term consequences that we have yet to fully understand. The COVID-19 vaccines have been created so as to decrease death and severe illness. Although a high percentage of people recover from COVID-19, some experience severe illness or even die. It is also common to have the virus but never experience symptoms, and it is possible to spread the virus to others even when symptoms are not present. When you make the choice to be vaccinated, you are protecting not only you but also your family members and those around you from the chance of death and severe illness caused by COVID-19.

  7. COVID-19 vaccines can control the population through microchip tracking or implanting something in the human brain?

  8. All ingredients in vaccines as well as the vaccines themselves are thoroughly tested and verified. There are some false claims that COVID-19 vaccines will use technology of injectable microchip implants to track human movement or even control bodily functions through 5G cell phone towers. This is false. There is no COVID-19 vaccine that will track people or gather personal information into a database.

  9. The four facial paralysis cases that participated in the BioNTech/Fosun vaccine clinical trial earlier were confirmed to be related to the vaccine?

  10. During the clinical trial, four participants had facial paralysis after being vaccinated with BioNTech/Fosun vaccine. A subsequent investigation by the US Food and Drug Administration found that the incidence of facial paralysis was about the same as usual, and it could not be proven that the cases were caused by the vaccine. The World Health Organization stated that it would continue keep monitoring, and there has been no new discovery so far.