Don't wait for 2nd gen Covid vaccines and get jabbed now, says pharmacy expert

Hongkongers should get vaccinated as soon as possible rather than waiting for the second-generation vaccines, said William Chui Chun-ming, president of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong.

The second-generation Covid-19 vaccine made by Moderna that targets three coronavirus variants has previously been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. The targeted three variants included the original 2020 virus and the Omicron BA.4/5 virus, said FDA in a statement.

University of Hong Kong’s microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said earlier that the government could consider acquiring the new vaccine for Hong Kong.

Speaking on a radio program on Monday morning, Chui expected the new batches of Covid vaccines would only be available in the first quarter of next year, as it will take a long time for manufacturers to gather clinical evidence, and time for the SAR government to consider acquiring it.

There is also no evidence yet to show that new generations of Covid vaccines will be more effective than the current ones against the BA.4 or BA.5 sub-variant, the pharmacy expert added.

He called on Hongkongers to receive the existing BioNTech and Sinovac vaccine available rather than waiting for the new vaccines.

Meanwhile, Chui suggested that authorities could mandate vulnerable groups such as the elderly to get vaccinated when necessary to boost the vaccination rate.

Separately, he said parents shouldn't wait for the 'baby version' of the BioNTech jab, noting that some children have become seriously ill recently after catching Covid.

He advised parents to first get their children jabbed with the current Sinovac vaccine.

"As the adult practice, we can use 'mix and match' so we can achieve a higher level of neutralizing antibody. So don't wait until the baby version is available, take the inactivated vaccine first to protect the children." said Chui.