Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK govt: Teens to get only 1 dose of BioNTech vaccine

A student from Christian Nationals' Evangelism Commission Lau Wing Sang Secondary School receives her COVID-19 vaccination at the Community Vaccination Centre at Queen Elizabeth Stadium through group bookings on July 14, 2021. (PHOTO/HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

HONG KONG – Teenagers aged 12 to 17 who have received one dose of BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine are deemed to have completed the vaccination course against COVID-19, the government said Thursday.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said in a statement that it made the decision on the advice of the Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines, which recommended that those aged 12 to 17 should get one dose of the Comirnaty vaccine.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said in a statement that it made the decision on the advice of the Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines, which recommended that those aged 12 to 17 should get one dose of the Comirnaty vaccine

“Persons aged 12 to 17 who have received one dose of Comirnaty vaccine at least 14 days ago are deemed to have completed the COVID-19 vaccination course and complied with the relevant requirement of social distancing measures under (the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulartion,” the statement reads.

In a separate statement, the advisory panel said it gave the advice after reviewing the local COVID-19 situation and comparing the risks and benefits for teenagers getting the second dose of the Comirnaty vaccine.

The panel said it agreed with the updated recommendation made by the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases and the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel on September 15 that those aged 12 to 17 should get one Comirnaty shot.

ALSO READ: HK experts recommend single dose of BioNTech shot for teens

Professor Lau Yu-lung, who chairs a health committee advising the government on its vaccination program, earlier said the side effect was more prevalent than originally thought.

He said experts, therefore, decided it was better for teenagers to get only one dose to "greatly reduce the chance of heart inflammation."

More than 30 teenagers suffered inflammation of the heart since the government started administering the shot to those over 12 from June, local broadcaster RTHK reported.

Hong Kong has been using two COVID-19 vaccines including Sinovac's shot vaccinating adults, but teenagers are eligible to take the BioNTech vaccine only. More than 50 percent of those aged 12-17 have been vaccinated.

Regulators in the United States, the European Union and the World Health Organization have said that mRNA vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and by Moderna are associated with rare cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, but that the benefits of the shots outweigh any risks.

READ MORE: Hong Kong reports 3 new COVID-19 cases

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can limit the organ's ability to pump blood and can cause changes in heartbeat rhythms. Pericarditis is an inflammation of the lining around the heart.