The Hong Kong government has advised adults aged 18 to 59 to get a fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at least six months after receiving their third jab.

Coronavirus Covid-19 vaccine
A woman receiving Covid-19 vaccination in Hong Kong. File photo: GovHK.

The advice comes after the Centre for Health Protection’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases and Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases, and the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel, met on Thursday to discuss giving a fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to adults aged 18 to 59.

In a document published on Friday, the experts said that a fourth jab “may provide transient additional protection against infection and symptomatic diseases” for those in this age range.

They “may choose” to be quadruple jabbed if they were “at a higher risk of Covid-19 exposure or with personal needs,” the panel of experts said, but advised waiting for at least six months from the third dose.

Caregivers at nursing homes for the elderly or disabled, people participating in anti-epidemic work or working at border control points or cross-border transportation were listed as examples of these “higher risk” groups.

Yuen Kwok-yung
Yuen Kwok-yung meets the press on May 20. Photo: Video screenshot, via RTHK.

Last month, a fourth jab was recommended for individuals aged 60 or above, “as this [age] group forms the majority of local fatal cases in the fifth wave.”

When asked on Friday evening whether it would become necessary for everyone to be quadruple jabbed, microbiologist and government advisor Yuen Kwok-yung said that largely depended on how long the immunisation response lasts after infection or vaccination.

“This varies heavily on different people. Generally, the older you are, or the more underlying disease you have, [the immunisation response in] you will drop faster,” Yuen said. “Especially the elderly, it goes without saying that they have to receive the fourth jab before winter.”

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