Those who have received four jabs of a Covid-19 vaccine will soon be able to receive their fifth, while BioNTech’s Omicron-targeting bivalent jab will be available to book as a third dose option from Friday, the Hong Kong government announced on Wednesday.

A Community Vaccination Centre administering the Covid-19 BioNTech bivalent vaccine. Photo: GovHK.

Bookings for the fifth Covid-19 shot – for which people can choose between Sinovac, BioNTech and the Omicron-specific BioNTech – will open online next Friday. Those who are aged 18 or above and who received their fourth jab at least six months ago will be eligible.

People who are immunocompromised will be subject to a shortened time interval of three months since their fourth shot.

Around 626,200 people in Hong Kong – or less than 10 per cent – have received four doses of the Covid-19 shot, according to the Hong Kong government’s vaccination dashboard on Tuesday.

A street in Central. Photo: GovHK.

Meanwhile, almost 83 per cent of the population have been triple-jabbed against the coronavirus.

The city recorded 11,981 Covid-19 infections on Wednesday and another 22 deaths among patients, bringing the total number of cases to almost 2.19 million, as well as 10,864 related deaths, since the pandemic began.

Bivalent jab

The government also said on Wednesday that it would expand the target group of the BioNTech bivalent vaccine – which targets the Omicron strain – to people wanting to receive it as a third dose.

The bivalent vaccine, which arrived in Hong Kong late last month, was made available last Thursday, but only as an alternative to the fourth dose. Local media reported that the number of people receiving their fourth jab soared after the city began administering the bivalent shot.

BioNTech Covid vaccine. Photo: BioNTech.

Online bookings for the bivalent vaccine as a third dose will begin this Friday, although the press release suggested that people may “make a request to staff members on site” to receive the bivalent jab before the booking system is updated.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Omicron is the dominant coronavirus variant around the world and is “significantly more transmissible” than Delta, its predecessor. The organisation identified Omicron as a “variant of concern” last November.

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Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.