Council Meetings (Oral Question): COVID-19 Vaccination Programme (2021.03.24)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): President, if more and more incidents happen after vaccination, people who wish to receive vaccination will become more hesitant. So, the figures announced by the Government―it must not conceal anything, of course―must be accurate.

The Government often uses “adverse events” to describe the side effects of vaccination. But pain at the injection site, mild discomfort and mild fever as we commonly see are some expected side effects. Why does the Government categorize them as adverse events? As people may not understand this, they will be worried as soon as they learn about a great number of adverse events. Can the Government be more accurate in publishing the relevant figures or explain to people, so as to dispel their misunderstanding?

SECRETARY FOR FOOD AND HEALTH (in Cantonese): President, I thank Mr CHAN for his supplementary question. Mr CHAN is right. Speaking of those “adverse events” as they are so called, the information on vaccination has already set out clearly those physical responses and side effects that are commonly seen after vaccination, so the incidents concerned are not necessarily adverse events as such.

“Adverse events” mainly involve a series of common post-vaccination abnormalities set out by WHO which require notification to DH by medical personnel. If Members pay attention, they will notice that our daily press release will mention the need for hospitalization in some cases. Such cases may involve immediate physical discomfort or responses generally of a transient nature. But for the sake of openness and transparency, we will also list out such cases. In those cases, it can be seen that in general, the people involved are admitted to hospital for examination, so as to find out what has happened. On the whole, their conditions are stable and they are released upon receiving treatment. Our daily press release will provide details on such cases.

In the case of those genuine adverse events, the Hospital Authority will notify DH. If they detect any adverse events, they will likewise notify the relevant parties. But the most important question of all is whether a causal relationship exists between the adverse events concerned and vaccination. The Expert Committee has already reviewed all existing cases and adverse events and has not found any causal relationship with vaccination.

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