Vaccination not ‘carte blanche’ for entry in the SAR – Gov’t

As of this moment, being inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine will not exempt that person from the entry restrictions in place in the SAR, health authorities indicated today (Monday).

As vaccination plans start being rolled out in the European Union, China and the US, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre Centre today a questioned if being vaccinated would allow for some kind of exemption to local entry restrictions, however, Conde S. Januario Hospital Doctor, Alvis Lo Iek Long, noted that it is still unclear if vaccinated people will still be able to spread the virus.

“We know being vaccinated can reduce the risk of contracting the virus by 80 to 90 per cent but this does not mean that person can’t be infected so at this moment and according to with scientific studies we can’t assure that a person after vaccination can’t transmit the virus to someone else,” Dr. Lo said in today’s pandemic update press conference.

“So if someone in a region of risk is vaccinated does not mean they can enter directly to Macau. They will still have to follow medical observation measures imposed in Macau”

Local authorities have purchased 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by three vaccine developers, namely, 400,000 doses of inactivated vaccines developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), 400,000 doses of mRNA vaccines developed by Germany’s BioNTech and 400,000 doses of adenovirus vector vaccines jointly developed by the Anglo-Swedish joint venture of AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

The first batches of Sinopharm and BioNTech vaccines are expected to be delivered to Macau in the first quarter of 2021, while the first batch of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines is expected to arrive in the second quarter.

“We will try for the vaccination plan to start in the first quarter of next year,” Dr. Lo added today.

Vaccines will be provided first to frontline workers, such as medical workers, firefighters and police officers, public transport drivers and others working in the public transport sector, and those working in the frozen goods sector, plus residents who need to travel overseas.

Concerning fears of secondary effects or severe reactions to the vaccines, Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre Centre Coordinator Dr. Leong Iek Hou stated that a “compensation system” already exists in case of any adverse reaction.

After being vaccinated we have some oversight measures to follow-up if that person has an anomaly. At this moment we already have a legal framework for compensation for adverse reactions for medications,” Dr. Leong stated.

Meanwhile, health authorities announced that the planned function for residents to add their home address to their Macau Health Code will be enforced after the New Year, with a 14 day adaptation period.

The centre last week that residents will have to add their home address to their local Health Code, otherwise they will not be able to get the code generated on their smartphones.

The requirement will also apply to non-locals living or staying, who will need to indicate the address of the place where they usually stay, such as workplaces, casinos or hotels.

The system was to be under trial until January 7 but was suspended due to technical malfunctions