The Hong Kong government launched a vaccine pass on Thursday, as part of tightened Covid-19 social distancing rules designed to combat the outbreak of a fifth wave of infections led by the highly contagious but less lethal Omicron variant. HKFP explains the vaccine pass regulations. Last update: May 30, 2022.

See also: HKFP Guide: Hong Kong’s latest Covid-19 social distancing rules – frequently asked questions

What is Hong Kong’s Covid-19 vaccine pass?

Covid-19 vaccine pass qr code scanning
Patrons must present a proof of vaccination QR code or vaccine exemption QR code upon entry to most premises. The premises are required to verify the QR codes’ authenticity using a government app. Photo: HK Gov screenshot.

Only residents who have been vaccinated with at least one dose of a Covid-19 jab may enter restaurants or any of the scheduled premises that are allowed to operate listed below – unless aged 11 or under or otherwise exempt – from February 24.

Residents may store their proof of vaccination QR code or medical exemption QR code in their LeaveHomeSafe app, or present the QR codes on the original paper record or as a screenshot.

Upon entry to most premises included in the vaccine pass scheme, patrons will have to:

  1. Scan the premises’ LeaveHomeSafe QR code.
  2. Have their proof of vaccination or exemption QR code scanned by staff at the premises, or scanned by a mobile device at the premises.

Those who fail to comply risk a HK$5,000 fine.

VenuesPresentation of vaccine QR code upon entry / upon request by law enforcementLeaveHomeSafe sign-in required
Restaurants & barsupon entryYes
Supermarketsupon requestYes
Marketsupon requestYes
Shopping mallsupon requestYes
Department storesupon requestYes
Club housesupon entryYes
Gymsupon entryYes
Sports premisesupon entryYes
Swimming Poolsupon entryYes
Places of public entertainment (e.g. cinemas & theatres)upon entryYes
Beauty parloursupon entryYes
Hair salonsupon entryYes
Massage parloursupon entryYes
Event premises upon entryYes
Party roomsupon entryYes
Nightclubsupon entryYes
Places of amusement (e.g. ice skating rinks)upon entryYes
Religious venuesupon entryYes
Bathhousesupon entryYes
Cruise shipsupon entryYes
Karaoke establishmentsupon entryYes
Mahjong housesupon entryYes
Hotels (staff only)upon entryYes
Amusement game centresupon entryYes
Public hospitalsnot requiredYes
Government premisesnot requiredYes
When do I have to present my vaccination record? – click to view

Visitors and patrons are required to display their QR codes upon entry to most premises.

The only exceptions are shopping malls, supermarkets, department stores, and markets.

To enter these types of premises, patrons must scan the LeaveHomeSafe QR code at the entrance, but do not have to present their vaccination or exemption records unless asked by law enforcement during spot checks.

Violators of the vaccine pass scheme are subject to a fine of HK$5,000.

YouTube video
Are there any exemptions? – click to view

The government has announced exemptions for the following circumstances or individuals:

  • Purchasing or collecting takeaway food or beverages
  • Collecting or delivering goods
  • Conducting necessary maintenance work
  • Accepting vaccinations, medical treatments, or undergoing medical tests
  • Using necessary government services
  • Participating in any legal proceedings
  • People who are under 12 years old
  • People holding a valid medical exemption record
How many Covid-19 jabs do I need to qualify for the vaccine pass? – click to view

There are three phases in the vaccine pass scheme, whereby adults will ultimately have to receive three doses.

  • Phase 1 – February 24 to April 29: all those aged 12 or above will need at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to qualify for the vaccine pass.
  • Phase 2 – April 30 to May 30: people aged 18 or over must have received at least two doses of the vaccines. Those aged between 12 and 17 will need to receive a second dose if they received their first dose more than six months ago.
  • Phase 3 – May 31 onwards: all adults will have to have received three jabs to qualify for the vaccine pass, if their second jab was administered more than six months ago. For adolescents aged between 12 and 17, they will need two doses of the vaccine to qualify if they received their first dose more than six months ago. They will also have to receive a third dose of vaccine to qualify if they received their second dose more than six months ago.

For people who recently recovered from Covid-19:

  • Phase 1 – February 24 to April 29: No vaccine is required if a person has recovered from Covid-19 or was discharged from hospital after being treated for Covid-19 less than six months ago. If they recovered more than six months ago and were unvaccinated, one dose of the vaccine is required.
  • Phase 2 – April 30 onwards: No vaccine required if a person recovered or were discharged rom hospital within six months. One dose of vaccine is required if they recovered more than six months ago. Two doses of vaccine are required if they recovered and received their first dose of vaccine more than six months ago. For adolescents aged between 12 and 17, who already received a jab and recovered more than six months ago, they do not need to take a second dose.

The government is upgrading its system to allow recovered Covid-19 patients to download a QR code from the system as proof of recovery, and the relevant updates are expected to be rolled out in May.

Meanwhile, recovered patients can show their discharge letter, SMS, or records issued by the government or private laboratories of their positive test results, isolation orders issued by the Department of Health, or other recovery records issued by the government or the Hospital Authority as proof.

vaccine pass covid covid19
Tony Wong of the Innovation and Technology Bureau holds up a vaccine record QR code in the LeaveHomeSafe app. Photo: Screenshot via ISDFile photo: GovHK.
Are paper copies of my vaccination record acceptable? – click to view

Both paper and electronic copies of vaccination records are accepted. They will have to contain the QR code, which is linked to your vaccination record, for verification.

Your vaccine QR code may be stored in the LeaveHomeSafe app, iAM Smart app or e-Health app, all of which are developed by the Hong Kong government.

Can I walk through a mall to go home or to work if I am unvaccinated? – click to view

While this is not listed as an exemption under the scheme, a government official said that if it was a “necessity” for those without a Covid-19 vaccination to pass through a mall to return home or go to work, and there was no practical alternative route, that would constitute a “reasonable excuse” and they would not be treated as breaching the rules.

What if I received Covid-19 vaccines overseas?

If you received all or some of your Covid-19 vaccine doses overseas, you may:

  1. Present a printed or electronic vaccination record issued by the overseas authorities.
  2. Obtain a QR code for the overseas vaccination record from Port Health at control points when entering Hong Kong, when asked to declare the Covid-19 vaccine you received abroad.
  3. Obtain a QR code for the overseas vaccination record from 18 designated post offices after completing a declaration of overseas vaccination details.
How are certain premises, such as supermarkets, defined? – click to view

According to Cap. 599F, supermarkets are defined as “self-service shops where fresh produce, food other than fresh produce, beverages and household goods are sold.”

Markets are defined as “any indoor premises with one or more dedicated entrances where goods are sold at different stalls or stores at the premises.”

Department stores are defined as “premises where a wide variety of goods (for example men’s and women’s clothing, furniture, electrical appliances and hardware) are sold in separate departments.

The government does not currently have a list of specific stores that will be included under the vaccine pass scheme.

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