More than 30 per cent of elderly Hong Kong residents surveyed who had yet to receive three doses of a Covid-19 vaccination said they would delay getting their next jab for as long as possible or simply not receive one, a patient rights group has found.
The Patients and Medical Professionals Rights Association commissioned the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute to interview 664 people aged 60 or over on August 15 and 16 to understand their opinions on the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as their testing habits and vaccination status.
According to the survey’s findings, which were released on Sunday, 36 per cent of respondents who had received three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine or fewer said they were inclined to delay having their remaining doses for as long as possible, or not receive any further vaccinations.
Those who had received fewer than three jabs accounted for 18 per cent of the interviewees. Seventy per cent said they were concerned about the safety of the vaccines.
Additionally, about a quarter of those who had not had three jabs said they thought the symptoms would not be severe if they were to be infected with Covid-19, while around one-fifth said they were in poor health or were had underlying conditions.
12% did not report positive test results
The survey also revealed that 12 per cent of respondents or their family members had kept their positive rapid test results from health authorities. Twenty-seven per cent said they knew of friends who had not reported their positive test results, too.
Jeffrey Pong, the convenor of the association told reporters when they released the poll results on Sunday that some who did not report their infections thought it would be inconvenient to have to undergo quarantine at government isolation facilities such as Penny’s Bay.
“These elderly people have jobs… there is a very high chance they will attend work,” Pong said. “The chance of them infecting others in the community would be higher.”
Meanwhile, 10 per cent of the respondents admitted to having incorrectly taken rapid Covid-19 tests improperly, whereas another 8 per cent had ignored compulsory testing orders.
Speaking at the same press meeting, the head of the Hong Kong Medical Association’s infectious disease committee Joseph Tsang said he was worried that there were loopholes in the rapid antigen test (RAT) reporting system.
“The concern is that there are fishes slipping through the net in the RAT system, and it will slow down the whole quarantine process,” Tsang said.
The survey also found that 27 per cent of respondents believed that the symptoms of repeated infections would be milder. However, Tsang said research from the US had shown that the likelihood of patients being hospitalised after being infected for a second time were three times that of those who contracted the coronavirus for the first time. The risk of death also doubled.
On Sunday, the city logged 10,683 new Covid-19 infections, of which 193 were imported. There were also eight more related deaths among patients aged between 59 and 102.