Fully-Vaccinated Hong Kongers Top 2 Million Aided by Giveaways

The number of Hong Kong residents that are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 topped 2 million on Sunday, doubling in just seven weeks as giveaways helped stoke initially slow demand.

Of the 2.8 million people who have received at least one shot, 2.01 million have gotten two, according to a Hong Kong government statement. Vaccines from BioNTech SE and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. are available in the city.

It took three months to fully inoculate the first million people in Hong Kong. Uptake has been slower than locales such as fellow Asian financial center Singapore in part because Hong Kong has one of the world’s lowest case counts at 11,958 amid stringent restrictions to keep the virus from spreading.

As of Saturday, 26% of the city’s population was fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, versus 46% in Singapore.

Some Hong Kong residents initially avoided vaccination due to mistrust of the city’s government, with the rate as of late May prompting officials to ponder potential donation of supplies before they expire.

Around that time, Chief Executive Carrie Lam rejected a call for government cash handouts or other in-kind incentives to quicken the pace of people getting shots. The private sector stepped in, offering so-called “lucky draw” prizes ranging from a $1.4 million apartment to a Tesla or gold bars. Vaccination sign-ups surged in response.

Patrick Nip, Hong Kong’s secretary for the civil service, said during a radio interview Sunday that the city may reach its target of a 70% vaccination rate by the end of September based on current trends.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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