Lo Chung-mau, Secretary for Health of HKSAR, gives an exclusive interview with China Daily in Admiralty on Nov 4, 2022. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – There is a lot of misinformation in the media and community about the adverse effect of vaccines, “a lot of anti-science and anti-vaccine propaganda”, which is creating hesitancy among Hong Kong’s elderly in getting inoculated, the city’s health chief said on Saturday.

The special administrative region government hopes to work with the community to remove “these misinformation and hurdles” and encourage people of the high-risk groups, especially young kids and the elderly, to boost up the vaccination rate as soon as possible, Professor Lo Chung-mau told the media after attending a radio program.

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It will be a serious burden for the city’s healthcare services if these high-risk groups get infected, he said. “This is actually a very high risk for the health of these elderly and young kids.”

We have been making a lot of publicity in time to publicize, encourage and promote vaccination.

Prof Lo Chung-mau, Secretary for Health, HKSAR

Asked whether the government is still relying on the Vaccine Pass to boost vaccination, he replied: “(The) vaccine pass is only one of the strategies. We have been making a lot of publicity in time to publicize, encourage and promote vaccination.”

The government is also sending medical teams to the community to try to promote vaccination and to offer vaccination to especially high-risk groups such as the elderly population, the secretary for health said.

Separately, he said the government is putting through the Chronic Disease Co-Care Pilot Scheme in the Primary Healthcare Blueprint to promote early detection and diagnosis of illnesses.

“The targeted group is people who are not yet diagnosed with diabetes mellitus,” he said, adding that the government wants to have an early detection of the disease before the development of complications.

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Currently, about half of the chronic diseases remain undetected. By the time the diseases are identified from patients, one third of the cases have already developed complications, putting patients in a very high-risk situation while substantially increasing treatment cost, Prof Lo explained.

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“By earlier detection, we hope that we can improve the health of these people. At the same time, we ensure that they can receive early treatment in the community rather than treatment for serious complications in the hospitals.”