(Xinhua/Cao Yang)

First Covid-19 vaccines to arrive SAR this week – Gov’t

The first Covid-19 vaccines will arrive at the Macau SAR this week, health authorities announced today (Monday).

A first 100,000 batch will arrive this week from Chinese group Sinopharm with a second 100,000 batch of messenger RNA vaccines purchased from Fosun Pharma, to arrive in the second half of the month.

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to as soon as the third quarter of this year.

Vaccination of frontline workers is expected to start in the period around Chinese New Year, set for February 11 to 18.

“We are negotiating with the suppliers so that the vaccine arrive as fast as possible. Vaccination is not just purchasing the doses, we still need to conduct many preparatory works. Establish appointments, registry, etc […] We will start vaccination around the CNY period,” Conde S. Januario Hospital Doctor, Alvis Lo Iek Long said in today’s pandemic update press conference.

The first doses will be administered to frontline workers on a voluntary basis, such as medical workers, firefighters, police officers, public transport drivers and others working in the public transport sector, those working in the frozen goods sector, and residents who need to travel overseas to high-risk areas.

“We have internal mechanisms to define priority people and we will contact them […] we don’t have plans to force people to be vaccinated so we will provide the opportunity to priority groups to be vaccinated but will respect their right to refuse,” Dr. Alvis Lo added.

“People outside the priority groups also do not need to worry. There will be enough vaccines for every resident. If after vaccinating the priority groups there are vaccines left we will already start vaccinating other people”

In total authorities have purchased 400,000 doses from Sinopharm, BioNTech and AstraZeneca.

Vaccination will be free of charge for residents and for non-resident workers and students, with authorities to provide a MOP500 covering the cost of two vaccine shots.

No new local infection cases have been reported in Macau for 309 consecutive days.

The 47th case – a 43-year old woman who ha returned with a group of residents in a special Air Macau flight from Tokyo – is still under treatment in the Conde S. Januario Hospital isolation ward, with an intermittent low-grade fever but no symptoms of pneumonia.

Eight close contacts are still under observation at the Alto de Coloane clinic.

There are still 896 people under medical observation in local hotels, namely 442 residents, 55 foreign employees and 399 tourists

[To be updated]