People stand in line outside a community vaccination center administering the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine imported by Fosun Pharma in Hong Kong, on April 26, 2021.
HONG KONG – The number of Hong Kong residents that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 topped 2 million on Sunday, doubling in just seven weeks as giveaways helped stoke initially slow demand.
Some 2.8 million people have received at least one shot, while 2.01 million have gotten two, accounting for 29.5 percent of the eligible population, according to a Hong Kong government statement. Vaccines from BioNTech SE and Sinovac Biotech are available in the city.
ALSO READ: HK reports no new COVID-19 case for third time in a week
Uptake has been slower than locales such as fellow Asian financial center Singapore in part because Hong Kong has one of the world’s lowest case counts at 11,958
It took three months to fully inoculate the first million people in Hong Kong. Uptake has been slower than locales such as fellow Asian financial center Singapore in part because Hong Kong has one of the world’s lowest case counts at 11,958 amid stringent restrictions to keep the virus from spreading.
As of Saturday, 46 percent of Singapore's population has been fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.
The slow vaccination rate at the early stage in Hong Kong has prompted the city’s government to ponder potential donation of supplies before they expire.
Around that time, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor rejected a call for government cash handouts or other in-kind incentives to quicken the pace of people getting shots. The private sector stepped in, offering so-called “lucky draw” prizes ranging from a HK$10.8 million (US$1.4 million ) apartment to a Tesla or gold bars. Vaccination sign-ups surged in response.
Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, Hong Kong’s secretary for the civil service, said during a radio interview Sunday that the city may reach its target of a 70 percent vaccination rate by the end of September based on current trends.
READ MORE: HK receives 860,000 more BioNTech doses, logs 2 new cases