Triple-jab rule vexes disabled

The triple-jab vaccine pass requirement imposed on people wanting to get into public clinics from next week is unreasonably harsh as it deprives residents of their right to medical treatment, says a patient group for the disabled.

Starting from Monday, unjabbed patients must have a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of their appointment times to be allowed in Hospital Authority's public outpatient clinics and district health centers.

Direction Association for the Handicapped head Rabi Yim Chor-pik said the wheelchair-bound would find it to be an imposition, particularly at test centers.

Yim said she has already received inquiries from a dozen disabled struck by a sense of helplessness.

These patients cannot get vaccinated for health reasons and also face difficulties going to community testing centers due to their disabilities.

For the severely disabled, Yim said, it is already difficult just to get around outside, so they have to be accompanied by others to go to testing centers, especially those who live in areas with poor transportation.

"[Going to testing centers] will be as complicated as going to clinics for these disabled patients," Yim said.

"If patients cannot receive their PCR test results on time, they may miss their medical consultation as they will not be allowed to enter the clinics."

Some disabled patients said they would rather postpone or cancel their appointments due to the added hassle.

Yim also said it's difficult for the disabled to secure a doctor's vaccination exemption certificate.

"Even if they eventually receive a doctor's certificate, it will only be valid for three months," she said.

The Hospital Authority's chief manager for quality and standards, Lau Ka-hin, had earlier said unvaccinated patients with emergency needs would still be allowed to enter hospitals.

But Yim said the authorities did not clarify how they would handle such cases and suggested the government accept rapid test results instead.