Macau advises people aged 18 or over to receive COVID-19 vaccine booster

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MACAO, January 7 – Health authorities in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SARM) have updated their guidelines regarding who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster. All persons 18 years of age or older who have completed an initial two-dose process involving either the inactivated vaccine from Sinopharm or the mRNA vaccine from BioNTech are now advised to receive a booster injection.

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center announced at a regular press conference on Thursday, January 6 that members of the double-pricked public – whether they previously opted for the inactivated vaccine or the mRNA vaccine – have been asked to look for a booster dose of the mRNA vaccine. This took into consideration data released by the World Health Organization, the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Hong Kong Ministry of Health.

The updated guideline also mentioned the possibility of a shorter interval between the second dose and the booster dose. This would allow those in urgent need of a recall – such as those traveling either to the Taiwan area or to foreign countries – to obtain one. In general, the advice had previously been that a booster should not be given until six months after receiving a second dose. Now, for those in urgent need of it, the booster dose can be given three months (but not less than 12 weeks) after receiving the second jab of a first series of doses.

Given the worsening level of COVID-19 infection around the world, the Macao SAR government previously ruled that all civilian flights from places outside of China would be banned from carrying passengers to Macau . The measure takes effect after the stroke of midnight on Sunday January 9 and runs until January 23 at 11:59 p.m.

The new measure will not exclude the applicability of other anti-epidemic control requirements.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, January 6, a total of 982,600 COVID-19 vaccine injections had been administered in Macau, according to statistics provided by the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center.

A total of 494,698 people in Macau have been classified as having received a vaccine against COVID-19. Of these, 29,819 people had received only a first dose; 427,494 had received two doses of vaccine; and 37,385 had received a third dose of vaccine.

During the 24 hours from Wednesday, January 5 at 4 p.m. to Thursday, January 6 at 4 p.m., the Office of Health received six notifications of reactions related to the vaccination. There was no incidence of serious adverse events and six cases involving a minor event (including two related to Sinopharm vaccine and four related to BioNTech mRNA vaccine).

In Macau, a city-wide COVID-19 vaccination program was launched on February 9, 2021. Since the start of the vaccination program, there have been 4,022 vaccination response notifications, including 12 serious adverse event and 4,010 minor event.

Since the start of the pandemic and through January 6, Macau has treated a total of 79 confirmed patients with COVID-19, of which 77 of the set have already been released. Currently, two patients – each classified as an imported case of COVID-19 – are staying at the Coloane Public Health Clinical Center.

The following are also kept in isolation at the Center: five asymptomatic COVID-19 patients coming from an area at moderate or low risk in terms of the presence of COVID-19 infection; a person undergoing post-recovery follow-up; an asymptomatic COVID-19 patient returning from a high-risk area outside of China with evidence of a relapse of his condition; two other people who had been in high risk areas; and seven people who respectively had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient.

Since the start of the pandemic, Macau has not recorded any COVID-19-related deaths and no infections among medical staff.

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