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HK logs 3.3k COVID-19 cases

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 3,362 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 493 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,869 via rapid antigen tests.   Separately, 118 imported cases were detected.   Furthermore, seven residential care homes for the elderly and one for disabled people logged nine cases involving their residents.   The Hospital Authority reported that 33 patients passed away in public hospitals. According to a preliminary analysis, the cause of death for 13 patients was related to COVID-19, while that of the remaining 20 patients was unrelated.   It also registered six more critical cases, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 99.   As there were positive sewage test results with relatively high viral loads in several areas of Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Kowloon City districts, the respective district offices will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to relevant residents as well as cleaning

Vaccine recommendations published

The two scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection convened a meeting today to provide recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccination for those with previous COVID-19 infection.   Joined by the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel, the committees also discussed the existing evidence on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against different variants.       The meeting noted that previous COVID-19 infection usually confers immunity for at least six to nine months for the majority of patients. There is accumulating evidence showing that those previously infected with COVID-19 would be further protected by one dose of mRNA vaccines.   After receiving one dose of mRNA vaccine, these people may experience more systemic side effects, such as fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain, when compared to those without prior infection.   People who wish to receive the mRNA vaccine should wait for at least 90 days after discharge from previous infection.   The meeting also noted that in general, studies have shown that the existing vaccines work well against the non-variant. The effectiveness data against variants differ by vaccines.   The Fosun Pharma/BioNTech vaccine is effective against the variants which first emerged in the UK and Brazil, but is less effective against the South African one.   There is currently limited efficacy data of CoronaVac developed by Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) against variants.   The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford is effective against the UK variants but is ineffective against the South African one.   The meeting also agreed that the combination of non-pharmaceutical interventions with vaccination will allow for maximum protection against the virus. There is a need to continue social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask in public to reduce the risk of transmission.
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