Here's everything you need to know about its application, implementation, and exemptions.
The Hong Kong SAR government has introduced a 'vaccine pass' in order to encourage more people to get vaccinated as part of its latest anti-epidemic measures as the city battles its fifth wave of infections. The new arrangements, effective 24 February 2022, will cover a range of businesses and premises as set out by the government.
Here's everything you need to know.
What is a 'Vaccine Pass'?
Starting 24 February, all people aged 12 and older are required to have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter different businesses and premises as set out by the government. These include restaurants, gyms, beauty parlours, shopping malls, and supermarkets. The staff of the premises are required to be vaccinated too.
Vaccine pass requirements are also applicable to some other premises such as schools, universities, offices of the Government and public organisations, indoor venues managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, public hospitals, residential care homes for the elderly, and residential care homes for persons with disabilities. However, the vaccine pass requirements of these premises may differ. For example, students are not subject to vaccine pass requirements imposed by primary and secondary schools.
How many COVID-19 vaccination shots do I need for the vaccine pass?
The government has set out the requirements for different ages' vaccine status below, including what happens if you are a recovered COVID-19 patient, in order to be eligible under the vaccine pass scheme.
According to the Hong Kong SAR government, 86.4% of the population over the age of 11 has received at least one vaccine dosage while 76% are fully vaccinated as of 23 February 2022.
Can I be exempt from the vaccine pass requirement?
You could be exempt from the vaccine pass requirement if you have a valid medical condition certificate, are aged under 12, or just picking up take away from food establishments. Below is the broader list of exemptions:
What premises are included to show vaccine pass for entry?
The below sets out exactly which premises are covered under the vaccine pass scheme, including restaurants, gyms and beauty parlours, as well as which will be subject to 'active' checking of the vaccine pass. The applicable premises below require all those entering the premises to scan the LeaveHomeSafe app which has your vaccine record entered into it.
'Passive' checking will be applied to supermarkets and shopping malls where scanning is not a prerequisite for entry, but random searches by authorised officers will be carried out to check with compliance of the vaccine pass arrangements.
Hotels and guesthouses are exempt.
If you're a person in charge of the scheduled premises, requirements include:
- Displaying the relevant notice from the government on whether it is subject to active or passive checking, and
- To collect and retain the vaccination record/medical exemption certificate of staff members for inspection on the request of an authorised officer.
Below you can find the definition of what constitutes various kinds of premises including hairdressers, supermarkets and religious institutions.
How can I present my vaccination record for the purpose of the Vaccine Pass?
The presentation of your vaccination record can be done by any of the following methods:
- Local doses: QR code of local vaccination record using the LeaveHomeSafe, 'iAM Smart' or 'eHealth' mobile applications;
- Local doses: Printed local vaccination record with QR code; or
- Non-local doses/mixed local and non-local doses:
- Printed or electronic vaccination record issued by the relevant authorities;
- QR code of vaccination record obtained from Port Health at control points when inbound travellers declare their non-local vaccination details;
- and QR code of vaccination record obtained from the 18 designated post offices upon completion of declaration of non-local vaccination details.
What if I have not completed my vaccination cycle yet?
The Vaccine Pass scheme is being implemented in three stages to give the public ample time to receive a second or third dose of vaccine.
Below are the three stages of the rollout of the Vaccine Pass programme in Hong Kong:
Stage 1: The first stage will be implemented from 24 February to 29 April 2022. Persons aged 12 or above are required to receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in order to use the Vaccine Pass to enter specified premises.
Stage 2: The second stage will be from 30 April to 29 June 2022. Persons aged 18 or above are required to receive at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to continue to use the Vaccine Pass. The vaccination requirement for persons aged 12 to 17 remains the same as in the first stage.
Stage 3: The third stage will commence effective 30 June 2022. By then, if persons aged 18 or above have received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine for less than nine months, their Vaccine Pass remains valid. However, if they have received their second dose for at least nine months, then they would need to receive a third dose (also known as a booster dose) to continue to use the Vaccine Pass. In this third stage, for persons aged 12 to 17, if they have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine for less than six months, they can still use the Vaccine Pass. However, if they have received their first dose at least six months prior, they are required to receive a second dose to continue to use the Vaccine Pass.
Photos / Hong Kong SAR Government