One person has died while two others remain in critical condition after suffering serious adverse effects within days of being vaccinated against Covid-19, the Department of Health reported over the weekend. All three patients had received China’s Sinovac vaccine.
A 55-year-old woman passed away at Kwong Wah hospital on Saturday morning after suffering an acute stroke and a subsequent heart attack. She had received her jab at the Kwun Chung Sports Centre vaccination centre three days prior. The patient suffered from a history of chronic illness, according to a statement by the Department of Health on Saturday.
It remains unclear whether her passing was a direct result of the jab. Authorities have said an expert committee will investigate whether there was a link.
A third case of a patient passing away within days of receiving the Sinovac vaccine was reported by local media citing sources on Monday. The 71-year-old man was admitted to United Christian Hospital on Sunday night after receiving the jab last Wednesday. He died of a suspected heart attack.
Separately, two elderly citizens were sent to intensive care over the weekend with serious adverse symptoms, also within days of receiving the vaccine.
An 80-year-old man was sent to Caritas Medical Centre’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with chest pain on Saturday, five days after receiving a jab at the Tin Fai Road Sports Centre in Yuen Long.
Meanwhile, a 72-year-old woman was sent to ICU at Prince of Wales hospital on Sunday after suffering from malaise. She had received her Sinovac jab at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Centre the previous day. Both patients had pre-existing health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke.
The cases will also be referred to the expert committee for investigation. “The [Department of Health] will provide the cases to the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following Covid-19 Immunisation for conducting causality assessment as soon as possible, and the assessment result will be released in a timely manner,” a statement on Sunday read.
Another two individuals were also sent to hospital after one suffered chest pains and another broke out in an allergic reaction after receiving their shots on Sunday.
The China-developed Sinovac vaccine is not administered to persons aged 60 and over in mainland China. It had been approved for emergency use in Hong Kong after a decision by local authorities to waive a requirement for developers to publish its final-stage trial results in peer-reviewed medical journals.
The government has sought to provide a HK$1 billion indemnity fund to grant financial support to individuals who suffer from serious adverse side effects as a result of being vaccinated against Covid-19 and their families.
‘Reduce the chance of an outbreak’
The government continued to call those eligible for the vaccine to receive it promptly.
“Vaccination will protect oneself and others, and reduce the chance of an outbreak of the epidemic in the community,” a government statement read on Sunday. “The government calls on people in the five priority groups to get vaccinated as soon as possible so that Hong Kong’s economy and people’s daily life can return to normal as soon as possible.”
The government has procured 7.5 million jabs, including those from Sinovac, Pfizer BioNtech and Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccines. It aims to vaccinate the majority of Hong Kong’s population this year. Currently the first two types of vaccines are available to persons who fall into five priority groups – including persons aged 60, healthcare and customs personnel.
A second shipment of around 758,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday, raising the total number of doses delivered to over 1.3 million. The vaccine is currently available at seven community vaccination centres across the city. Bookings for BioNtech shots are available online for the period until March 28. The city is still awaiting delivery of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca jab.
Around 93,000 people have received a vaccination as of Sunday evening as the government’s city-wide vaccination drive enters its second week. 91,800 had received a Sinovac jab while only 1,200 had received a BioNtech shot.
The city reported 16 new infections on Sunday.