Vaccine bubble plan in HK called ‘discriminatory’

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Hong Kong, April 28 (ANI): The COVID-19 vaccine bubble scheme aimed at boosting the number of people getting the jabs in Hong Kong has been called “discriminatory” by many, especially those working in restaurants and entertainment places claiming they are being forced to receive shots.

The Hong Kong government announced on Tuesday that the vaccine bubble scheme would kick off from Thursday. Under the guidelines, restaurants are allowed to have six people per table if the staff has had their dose of vaccine, and eight people per table if the staff is fully vaccinated, reported Asia Times.

If the staff has received the first dose, restaurants will be allowed to open till midnight, whereas the allowed time would be extended to 2 am if the staff is fully vaccinated.

Customers would be fined HKD 5,000 (USD 644) if they provide false information about their vaccination status to restaurants and entertainment venues, said Vivian Lau Lee-kwan, Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene.

However, members of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) last week protested against the U-banquet Group in Kwun Tong and accused the restaurant chain of forcing its employees to have COVID-19 vaccines, Asia Times reported.

The U-banquet Group had told their staff in an internal notice that they would be suspended from work if they did not get the vaccines, alleged Mung Siu-tat, the chief executive of the HKCTU.

He added that dozens of workers complained that they were subject to discriminatory treatment due to the vaccine bubble scheme.

However, Cheung Ka-ho, the chairman and chief executive of the U-banquet Group, said the company’s non-vaccinated staff would only be given some other tasks, instead of being “suspended from work”.

As of Monday, 1.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered to people in Hong Kong.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan said Sunday that only about 10 per cent of the Hong Kong population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 jab, compared with 40 per cent in the United States and the United Kingdom and 60 per cent in Israel.

Furthermore, since the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Hong Kong on February 26, a total of 25 people had reportedly died within weeks of their injections.

Although the government has set up an HKD 1 billion fund to compensate those who suffered from the side effects of vaccinations, no one has been compensated so far, Asia Times reported.

Earlier this month, marking a rare admission from China over the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine, the country’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that the efficacy of Chinese coronavirus vaccines is “not high” and they may require improvements.

Three Chinese drug firms are engaged in producing vaccines for COVID-19 and all of them have faced criticism for not making a full disclosure about their phase 3 trial results, according to multiple reports.

Vaccine experts around the globe have vehemently advised against Sinopharm, with the Shanghai-based doctor Tao Lina calling it the “most unsafe vaccine in the world”. (ANI)

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