Hong Kong residents will need to ensure they have had their third Covid-19 jab by May 31 in order to access the Vaccine Pass scheme, the government announced on Sunday. The requirement was brought forward from June 30.

From February 24, residents aged 12 or over are barred from entering 23 categories of premises – including restaurants, malls, supermarkets and wet markets – unless they can present valid proof of at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Patrons must have present their vaccine or exemption QR code upon entry to most premises. The premises’ staff are required to verify the QR codes authenticity using another government app. Photo: HK Gov screenshot.

See also: Guide to Vaccine Pass

Those who had a second jab within six months before May 31 will still be able to use the scheme. Those who have recovered from Covid will be relieved of the third jab requirement, but will need to get a second dose within six months of recovery.

The updated vaccine pass requirement – click to view.

Photo: GovHK.

Sunday’s press release said that people will now need to get their third jab within six months of the second, whereas previously, they could wait for up to nine months.

A shopping mall LeaveHomeSafe QR in Hong Kong on Tuesday, March 2. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

“The relevant arrangement has taken into account the enthusiasm showed by members of the public in getting vaccinated since the start of the year, and that the Government has sufficient vaccine doses and vaccination capacity to get all eligible citizens of Hong Kong vaccinated with three doses before the deadline,” the Food and Health Bureau statement said.

Those with a medical exemption certificate will continue to be exempt from the scheme’s vaccine requirement.

Hong Kong reported 14,149 Covid cases on Sunday and 246 deaths. In all, the city has seen over a million cases and over 5,000 deaths.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.