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Macao starts vaccination of mainland-made COVID-19 vaccines, chief executive goes first

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-09 14:28
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MACAO -- China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Tuesday started vaccination using mainland-made COVID-19 vaccines at a major local public hospital, with Macao SAR Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng being the first one to be vaccinated.

Several leading officials of the SAR government were also vaccinated, together with representatives of prioritized groups including front-line workers in anti-epidemic efforts and groups that are at high risk in terms of occupational exposure, including police, staff of customs, hotels and airports as well as medical workers.

These people will take the second dose of the vaccine after three to four weeks.

Officials of the SAR government took the lead in vaccination in an effort to convey their confidence in the vaccines, said Ao Ieong U, secretary for social affairs and culture of Macao, at the launch ceremony, calling for residents in Macao to be vaccinated.

The first batch of the inactivated COVID-19 vaccines made in the Chinese mainland were delivered to the Macao SAR on Saturday thanks to the support of the central authorities, she added.

Ho said after vaccination that he did not feel anything peculiar after taking the first dose, calling on residents in Macao to be vaccinated on a voluntary basis.

Ku Weng Hong, a pilot of Air Macau, told Xinhua that he voluntarily registered for the vaccination out of the need for work. "Vaccination benefits us in many different ways," he said. "It can build up immunity in communities."

On Monday, Macao opened the reservation system for the vaccination to the public. Prioritized groups for the vaccination could start making reservations online on Monday and begin vaccination on Tuesday, according to the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center of Macao.

Other Macao ID holders can start making reservations from Tuesday noon and begin vaccination after Feb 22, the center said.

Whether non-Macao ID holders staying in the SAR can be covered in the vaccination scheme depends on the vaccination rollout at the first two stages and the number of vaccines left available, said the center.

It announced in January that the SAR would offer vaccination free of charge to Macao ID holders, employees from elsewhere who work in the SAR and non-local students studying in Macao.

As of Monday, no locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases had been reported in Macao for over 10 months. A total of 48 confirmed cases had been reported in the SAR.

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