Many of Hong Kong’s young people are worried about contracting the coronavirus but two in five say they will not get the Covid-19 vaccine, a survey has found.
Almost 90 per cent of the respondents were unhappy with the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with about 55 per cent saying the measures adopted by the authorities were “too lax”.
The welfare group Youth New World, which serves lower-income families and their children, interviewed 412 Hongkongers aged below 30 between December 23 and 31 as part of an online poll.
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Around 41 per cent of respondents expressed reservations about getting vaccinated. Only 8 per cent said they would “definitely” get the shots, while another 37 per cent would “possibly” get them. Some 14 per cent had no comment.
The top three reasons cited by those who did not want to get shots were “doubts over the effectiveness”, “worries about side effects” and “no choice of the manufacturer of the vaccine that is to be taken”.
But about 6 per cent thought they would not get infected.
Youth New World vice-chairman Charles Tang Wing-yiu called on the government to be more transparent in its vaccination scheme to address people’s concerns.
“Basically, it is a confidence issue,” Tang said. “Many young people have adopted a wait-and-see attitude towards taking vaccines. Like many others, they have concerns about the safety of the vaccines.
“The government should release more correct, scientific and up-to-date information to the public to address scepticism and suspicion.”
The government has said residents can expect to start receiving Covid-19 jabs as early as next month. Civil service minister Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, who is in charge of the programme, said on Saturday priority groups could get free shots at care homes for the elderly, hospitals and public vaccination centres.
He also said the government would step up public education to address concerns about the vaccines.
The government has entered into agreements with Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinovac Biotech and Germany’s BioNTech and its mainland Chinese partner Fosun Pharma to procure shots. It has also ordered vaccines being produced by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford.
The authorities said people would be allowed to choose their vaccines.
Some 69 per cent of the survey respondents indicated they were “very worried” or “quite worried” about getting infected with the virus. And 87 per cent said they were unhappy with the government’s performance in combating the pandemic. Only 5 per cent said they were “quite happy” with the measures, while none indicated “very happy”.
About 55 per cent said the measures to combat the pandemic were “too lax” in Hong Kong, while only 12 per cent rated them as “appropriate” and another 4 per cent said they were “too restrictive”.
The most supported measure was requiring arrivals to be quarantined in designated hotels, while the least supported one was the “Leave Home Safe” Covid-19 risk exposure app.
Youth New World was set up in 2013 with the support of the Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation, founded by the late billionaire Cheng Yu-tung of New World Development.
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