The majority of civil servants in Hong Kong have been vaccinated against Covid-19, with just six per cent who have yet to receive their first jab, according to the civil service chief. However, a pro-establishment lawmaker said the government should consider making vaccination a requirement for promotion in order to further boost vaccination rates.

QE vaccination centre Lam visit
The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, visited the Community Vaccination Centre (CVC) at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in April to inspect its operation and give encouragement to staff members. Photo shows Mrs Lam (third left) chatting with a member of the public who receives vaccine at the centre. Photo: GovHK.

Secretary for the Civil Service Bureau Patrick Nip said in the legislature on Tuesday that staffers who received their first Covid-19 jabs had reached about 94 per cent of the government’s workforce. Those without a doctor’s note to indicate medical exemptions must pay out of pocket to test for the virus every two weeks, he said.

Bad ideology

In comparison, about 65 per cent of the city’s population eligible for the vaccine had received their first dose by Tuesday, while 59 per cent have received both.

legco lawmaker steven ho chun yun
Steven Ho. File Photo: LegCo screenshot.

However, pro-establishment lawmaker Steven Ho asked Nip if prospects for promotion would be affected for any “extreme elements, uncooperative elements” who prefer paying for regular virus tests instead of getting vaccinated, without valid medical reasons.

“We should ask them to choose: [not getting vaccinated] will affect your promotion prospects. You can then choose not to be promoted,” Ho said. “In fact, these people’s ideology are bad, because they are bad in character.”

Nip said in response that vaccination was not mandatory for government workers.

Hong Kong has recorded 12,166 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic and 213 deaths.

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Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.