By 9 a.m. on Friday, a queue of dozens of people had formed outside Wan Chai Post Office, one of Hong Kong’s 18 designated post offices that issue Covid-19 vaccination record QR codes for anyone who received their jabs overseas.

Individuals who got vaccinated outside Hong Kong may visit the 18 designated post offices in order to obtain a Provisional Vaccine Pass. Some started lining up at 5 a.m. as the post offices can only process 2,400 applications in one day. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Some brought portable chairs and books, in anticipation of a long wait.

Dozens lining up outside the post office before 9 a.m. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Geraldine, who was vaccinated in Paris, said she had visited the post office three times before, yet had still failed to obtain the QR code, or Provisional Vaccine Pass as it is officially known. “I came at 9:25 a.m. last time, but the queue was very long… I only came this morning because I know I have no work meeting,” she told HKFP.

Geraldine tried three times but still failed to apply for the Provisional Vaccine Pass at the designated post office. She brings her physical vaccine paper with her wherever she goes now. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

“I hope we can do [the vaccine pass application] online, it would be more convenient. I also hope we can do it in every post office, wherever we want, whenever we want. It would be easier for everyone,” Geraldine said.

Yan said he thinks the arrangement is alright, “just queueing up after all.” He has been waiting for over four hours outside the post office. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

Yan, a postgraduate student who arrived in Hong Kong through the Return2hk Scheme and received his jabs in mainland China, was the third in the queue outside Wan Chai Post Office. He told HKFP he had arrived at 5.00 a.m.

People brought books and sat on the floor. Some had been waiting for over three hours. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Yan said he is takin an examination on Saturday that required him to present a local vaccination record. “If I hadn’t called the school and asked for the exam details, I wouldn’t have known that I had to come here and apply for a Provisional Vaccine Pass. I might not have been able to take the exam tomorrow,” Yan said, but he did not think the arrangement was problematic. “It’s just queueing up after all.”

Staff from the Wan Chai Post Office distributing declaration forms to Vaccine Pass applicants. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

On Thursday, the government announced that from May 5, inbound travellers would be issued with a vaccination record QR code and a Provisional Vaccine Pass at border control points.

Applicants asking post office staff questions after finally getting the application tickets following hours of waiting. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

However, those who were vaccinated outside Hong Kong and arrived in the city before May 5 would still need to visit one of the 18 designated post offices to apply for the Provisional Vaccine Pass.

Applicants were asked to fill out forms outside as staff told them not to remain inside the post office due to Covid restrictions. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The government announced that the daily quota of Provisional Vaccine Pass applications would be doubled from 1,200 to 2,400 from Friday, after long queues were seen outside designated post offices.

Applicants were required to come back to the post office at a designated time. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The quota will be increased to 3,000 from next week, and an online platform for people to register their non-local vaccination records will be re-introduced “as soon as possible,” the government said in a news release.

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Lea Mok

Lea Mok is a multimedia reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously contributed to StandNews, The Initium, MingPao and others. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.