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Government reminds members of public that group invalidation declarations of Medical Exemption Certificates will take effect tomorrow
     The Government reminded members of the public today (November 8) that the group invalidation declarations made by the Secretary for Health on October 26, pursuant to section 17B(1) of the amended Prevention and Control of Disease (Vaccine Pass) Regulation (Cap. 599, sub. leg. L) (the Regulation), regarding all COVID-19 Vaccination Medical Exemption Certificates (Exemption Certificates) issued by seven registered medical practitioners will take effect tomorrow (November 9). By that time, all specified Medical Exemption Certificates previously issued by the medical practitioners concerned will cease to be specified Medical Exemption Certificates, and all Medical Exemption Certificates issued by the medical practitioners concerned after the making of the aforementioned invalidation declarations will also not be considered specified Medical Exemption Certificates.

     According to the Regulation, the seven registered medical practitioners concerned could make written representations to the Secretary for Health on or before November 1 as to why the group invalidation declarations should not be made. On the basis of the information and records available, including the written representations submitted by the aforementioned individual medical practitioners, the Secretary for Health considered that there are no reasonable grounds to support the revocation of the group invalidation declarations of the relevant Exemption Certificates, and it is in the public interest to uphold the declarations that all Exemption Certificates issued by the seven registered medical practitioners concerned cease to be valid for the purposes of the Vaccine Pass system.

     The Government calls upon members of the public who hold invalidated Exemption Certificates to consult doctors again as soon as practicable according to their health needs so as to ascertain whether they are suitable for receiving COVID-19 vaccines or may continue to obtain medical exemption. Apart from arranging consultations with other private doctors by themselves, members of the public in need may also visit general out-patient clinics (GOPCs) under the Hospital Authority (HA) (except designated clinics for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and clinics which have temporarily suspended services) where public sector doctors can ascertain whether they can continue to obtain medical exemptions according to their clinical condition. Individuals who use the relevant consultation services are exempted from the service fee of the GOPC ($50). In addition to making appointments through the telephone appointment system or the "Book GOPC" function in the HA's one-stop mobile application "HA Go", members of the public may also visit the GOPCs under the HA directly. The clinics will arrange for them to seek consultation on the same day or make appointments for consultation.

     A Government spokesman cautioned that, persons-in-charge of premises subject to active checking must update the QR Code Verification Scanner mobile application to version 4.4.4 or above to check if the electronic vaccination record, recovery record or Exemption Certificate QR code of visitors are compliant with the Vaccine Pass requirement. If an invalid Exemption Certificate is identified, the QR Code Verification Scanner will display text to warn that the QR code concerned is invalid and give a sound alert.

     The Government spokesman reiterated, "The Vaccine Pass is an important tool to fight against the epidemic and safeguard public health. The objective of the relevant measure is to protect individuals who have not yet completed the COVID-19 vaccination course, reducing the risks borne when they enter high-risk premises, and at the same time to avoid placing unnecessary burden on the public healthcare system. There is still room to increase the COVID-19 vaccination rates of the elderly and children, who are our targeted groups for protection. Boosting their vaccination rates is also one of the important factors for safeguarding the health of all members of the public and resumption of normalcy. We strongly appeal to members of the public for arranging COVID-19 vaccination for their children and/or elderly family members without delay, so that the children and elderly can get protection early through vaccination. Members of the public who are eligible for the third or fourth dose should also get vaccinated as soon as possible to strengthen their own protection."
Ends/Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:45
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