Hong Kong authorities are mulling over prosecuting a 30-year-old Singaporean man for taking two BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shots in the city, despite having already taken two Moderna shots in Singapore, the South China Morning Post reported.
Needed shots locally to visit bars
The man, who works in Hong Kong, reportedly took the two extra shots as he wanted to obtain a local electronic vaccination record to visit bars.
His previous two shots taken in Singapore were not logged on the Hong Kong e-record, which currently does not recognise international vaccinations.
The Hong Kong government said on July 20 that his actions wasted the city’s vaccine resources, and posed risks to his own health, as well as implicated the medical staff who inoculated him.
His actions have been condemned as “extremely selfish and irresponsible” behaviour.
Individuals could be liable for providing false information to health care workers at vaccination centres, a government spokesman said.
“The relevant act may involve a misrepresentation and gaining of benefits through deception which constitutes a criminal offence,” he said.
“The government will conduct investigation and consider taking appropriate legal actions. If necessary, we will prosecute the relevant person.”
However, there are no legal grounds in the statute books to criminalise false declarations at vaccination centres.
False declarations made under oath or other similar statutory duties can result in prosecution, but not omissions.
No added benefits
Taking four vaccine jabs offered few medical benefits, a Hong Kong health official also said.
It could expose recipients to extra risks of side effects, such as fever, headache or pain in the jabbed arm.
Electronic sign-ups for vaccination in Hong Kong only require the applicant to provide personal particulars, acknowledge an understanding of the risks and process involved, and select the brand, time and location for the jabs.
Staff at inoculation centres or private clinics usually check the recipients’ identity and ask if they are getting their first or second shot.
People who got one dose outside Hong Kong must give the details to health care workers to be considered for a second shot.
Those who have recovered from Covid-19 only need one shot.
The loophole exists as medical staff were not required to ask recipients whether they had been inoculated overseas.
Moving forward, the Hong Kong government should add this question but the respondent might still be untruthful, a health official suggested.
E-record should include international vaccines
The health official also suggested the government should consider including internationally accepted vaccines in its electronic record scheme for convenience.
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