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Macau to launch free and voluntary COVID-19 vaccination plan

The Macau SAR government will launch a free and voluntary vaccination plan for locals once the COVID-19 vaccines arrive, the Health Bureau revealed on Monday.

Health Bureau officials emphasized that vaccines provided for Macau must be safe and effective, although the sources of Macau’s vaccines are unable to be revealed at this stage.

“The specific date of vaccine availability is affected by many factors,” said Alvis Lo Iek Long, the clinical director of the public hospital. “That includes the clinical study results. Although a number of international manufacturers have conducted Phase III clinical trials and some have published interim clinical reports, the final reports have not yet been peer-reviewed and published in academic journals, so we still need time to verify the safety and efficacy.”

While the looming arrival of a vaccine is the news Macau has long waited for, it won’t arrive soon enough to save the New Year’s Eve fireworks display, which has now been cancelled for 2020.

Previous years have seen over 30,000 people crowd the shoreline of Macau Peninsula and Taipa on New Year’s eve, which officials fear could risk the spread of COVID-19 if it were to proceed.

The government also said Monday that any private sector companies, including IR operators, who intend to hold countdown events should follow the government’s prevention guidelines which may require all participants to undergo a virus test in order to attend.

The government last week required all participants of the 2020 Galaxy Entertainment Macao International Marathon, held at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium on Saturday, to provide a negative test result before competing.

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