The government is promoting the COVID-19 vaccination scheme. In addition to increasing the number of prioritised vaccination groups, ten larger nursing homes will also be given priority in the vaccination programme later. In order to prevent the mood of ''vaccine hesitancy'' from growing, the government must be extra cautious in handling the vaccination of elderly people in nursing homes, as there have been many outbreaks in Hong Kong's nursing homes. Governments in different places have urgently approved COVID-19 vaccines on the assumption that the benefits outweigh the risks. However, the severity of the pandemic varies greatly from region to region, so does the public's chance of being infected.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the number of new cases confirmed in a single day is a figure that many people pay close attention to every day, and now there is another figure that the public is quite concerned about: the number of abnormal cases after vaccination. Since the start of the vaccination programme in Hong Kong, there have been three deaths after vaccination, and another vaccinated person was hospitalised in critical condition due to cardiovascular disease. Some people will have some side effects after receiving the vaccine, but from a scientific point of view, death after vaccination is not the same as death by vaccination, and there is no necessary causal relationship between the two events. There are tens of thousands of inoculations in a short period of time, so it is not surprising that some people coincidentally die after vaccination if we talk about the probability.
The suitability of the Sinovac vaccine for elderly people over 60 years of age has been the subject of much debate recently. The government stresses that the Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines has weighed up the risks and benefits and concluded that vaccination was feasible. In the four waves of the pandemic in Hong Kong, there have been repeated outbreaks in nursing homes, and many people have died of the disease. The administration's promotion of vaccination in nursing homes is justified in terms of pandemic prevention and control and the evaluation of risks and benefits, but the specific operational arrangements must be handled with extreme caution. If the vaccination programme is not handled properly, it may further push up the ''vaccination hesitancy'' sentiment.
After the vaccination, there are bound to be a series of death cases among the people living in nursing homes, which can have nothing to do with the vaccine. However, public perception is another matter. If the cases are frequent, even if a clinical expert committee follows up and explains what has happened, it may not suffice to change the perception. The ''vaccine hesitancy'' sentiment is now spreading. If the authorities do not do a proper job of psychological anticipation management and make hasty vaccination arrangements in nursing homes, once the public loses confidence in vaccination, it will be very difficult for the government to promote COVID-19 vaccination in the future.
Since the end of last year, many countries have been conducting large-scale COVID-19 vaccination programmes. One observation is that ''vaccine hesitancy'' is more common in regions where the pandemic is relatively well controlled. The outbreak is serious in Europe and the US and there is the possibility of contracting the coronavirus in every place. Many people are much more worried that they will die from the pandemic than they will die after the vaccination, while the government is eager to promote vaccination in the hope that the pandemic will be gradually controlled. COVID-19 is highly lethal to the elderly, and the benefits of vaccination for people in nursing homes in Europe and the US must be far greater than the risks. The fact that the mainland and Macao have not included people over 60 years of age in the priority vaccination groups reflects to a certain extent that the pandemic has eased off in the two regions so there is no such urgency.