administering vaccines for those who want them
administering of BioNTech vaccines) has been (temporarily) suspended!
RTHK program producer Bao Choi went on trial this morning for her reporting of the attacks by white shirted individuals on MTR passengers on the evening of July 21st, 2019. And later in the day, we saw Shenzhen returnee Andy Li charged with the national security law offence of "colluding with foreign forces".
It could be said to be a measure of how "everyday" political persecution in Hong Kong has become though in that neither was considered to be the biggest news of the day. Rather, what caused the territory to be all abuzz for much of todayy was the news of the suspension of the administering of the BioNTech vaccine in Hong Kong and Macau over packaging flaws.
What seems to have been behind this is that the authorities received a written notice from the vaccine’s Hong Kong and Macau supplier, Chinese company Fosun, saying that a batch – numbered 210102 – had defective lids. The issue posed no safety risk to the public, a government press release cited Fosun as saying But both the Hong Kong and Macau governments decided to temporarily suspend the administering of the BioNTech vaccine anyway, to be super safe.
While the exercising of caution is to be admired to some extent, one can't help but wonder whether they would have done the same if the vaccine concerned had been the Sinovac (which, for the record, has yet to be approved for use by such as the World Health Organization). Put another way: there is a strong sense in Hong Kong that "politics and pleasing the mainland [has become] more important than public health".
The following is the reality: People in Hong Kong have seen too much over the years to fully trust that the government truly cares about their welfare and health. Even setting aside overtly political issues and street clashes involving the usage of over 16,000 cannisters of tear gas against the local populace over the course of just a few months, there have been too many derelictions of duty (as well as Mainland Chinese health and food scandals) that have left a psychological scar on people here.
Also, why -- if the medical decisions are not affected by politics -- is it that the BioNTech vaccinations have been (temporarily) suspended despite those vials of the vaccine suspected to having been damaged having been disposed of before use and everyone who took the BioNTech vaccinations appearing to be safe but the Sinotec vaccinations have not despite at least seven deaths being associated with those who have been administered them?! To be sure, a panel of experts have concluded today that the deaths in Hong Kong of people who have had vaccines for the Wuhan coronavirus were *probably* not linked to the vaccines. But even so, right?
This I know: these shennanigans are hardly going to convince those on the "wait and see" fence -- of which there are many in Hong Kong -- that they should feel super confident about Hong Kong's coronavirus vaccine program. Ironically enough, it appears that the majority of those who already have taken the BioNTech vaccine also aren't all that concerned about their physical safety and, if anything, are taking comfort in knowing that a few weeks' delay of their taking the second shot of the vaccine won't unduly affect its efficacy.
Something else that helps puts people's minds at ease as far as the Wuhan coronavirus in Hong Kong is concerned is that Hong Kong is back to single digits for new daily local infections: with just 4 recorded today. I wish I could offer up similar promising news about the overall situation in Hong Kong. Instead, I can only report that Hong Kongers are generally not feeling positive with regards to Hong Kong post the implementation of China's security law in this territory, and justifiably so. :(