Vaccines offered to Macao, HK people

By WANG XIAOYU China Daily Updated: April 8, 2021

China has begun offering free COVID-19 vaccines to residents of Hong Kong and Macao who are Chinese nationals and are living on the Chinese mainland, the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism said.

People with Chinese nationality from Hong Kong and Macao should present either mainland residential permits issued by public security authorities or proof of enrollment in mainland medical insurance programs to get vaccinated for free on a voluntary basis, and they will enjoy the same supporting policies as mainland residents, the National Health Commission said in a notice released on its website on Tuesday.

"Teachers and students from Hong Kong and Macao working or studying on the mainland will be treated in the same way as their mainland counterparts," it said.

They will also be entitled to the same treatment and reimbursement policies as mainland residents if they have adverse reactions after inoculation, the commission said.

Hong Kong and Macao residents who are Chinese nationals but do not have mainland residential permits or who are not enrolled in mainland medical insurance programs will be able to pay for vaccination in the future if new programs are rolled out, the notice said.

All permanent residents of the mainland cleared to use COVID-19 vaccines can receive them free of charge. Some cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, have started offering shots to foreigners at about 100 yuan ($15.30) a dose, while those covered by healthcare insurance can be vaccinated for free.

The national census in 2010 found there were nearly 235,000 Hong Kong residents and 21,200 Macao residents living on the mainland. In the past five years, about 45,000 students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan graduated from universities or colleges on the mainland, according to the Ministry of Education.

Cai Zhuo-zheng, a Macao resident who graduated from China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing in 2019 and now lives in Guangdong province, said the widening coverage of free vaccination on the mainland will bring great convenience to Hong Kong and Macao residents who are willing to get vaccinated.

"It is easy for me to return to Macao because I now live in Guangzhou," he said. "But for other Hong Kong and Macao residents studying or working on the mainland, being able to receive doses near where they live means a lot to them and can save a lot of trouble."