Legal Affairs EP10 | Vitus Leung: Extend 'vaccine pass' to public hospitals to boost elderly vaccination rate
The fifth wave of COVID infections in Hong Kong has gradually stabilized, yet the high mortality rate among elderly patients in this outbreak has been rather alarming.
The vaccination rate for COVID-19 vaccines among elderly citizens is still below expectation. In this episode of Legal Affairs, Lawrence Ma, Chairman of the Hong Kong Foundation for Legal Exchange, invites Dr. Vitus Leung, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong Auxiliary Medical Service, to analyze the reasons behind this and share his ideas to boost elderly vaccination rate in the city.
What exactly is the reason for the low vaccination rate among the elderly? Dr. Leung said that firstly, there is not enough publicity; secondly, some health care workers have a wrong understanding of COVID vaccines, thinking that the elderly and people with chronic diseases are not suitable for vaccination due to the possible side effects. In the West, there is a totally different attitude towards COVID vaccines among the elderly, Leung said. "For example, the first person to receive the new crown vaccine in the UK was a 106-year-old woman," he added.
Since vaccination can effectively reduce the mortality rate of infected elderly people, why does the government not introduce a mandatory vaccination program? In this regard, Dr. Leung said that currently, there are no mandatory vaccination programs in the world, because governments might be held criminally liable if any injury or death is caused by the compulsory act.
Despite the fact that we are already in the digital age, many elderly people still do not use or have smartphones, and lack channels to receive new knowledge and information. Dr. Leung believes that face-to-face persuasion is an effective way to address this situation, but with the limited number of medical workers employed by the government, this large-scale education is better to be conducted by volunteers from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who have more contact with the elderly and are more experienced.
In addition, the "vaccine pass" scheme is an important measure to encourage the public to receive vaccines, but it does not cover public hospitals yet. Dr. Leung believes that if the coverage is extended to public hospitals, the vaccination rate of the elderly will be greatly increased. Watch the video now for more details!