Sham Shui Po clinic sells COVID-19 vaccine exemption certificates for HK$7,800

Screengrab of TVB’s YouTube video
Screengrab of TVB’s YouTube video

A clinic in Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po district has been exposed by a TVB report for selling certificates that exempt people from COVID-19 vaccination for as high as HK$7,800 (US$994).

In an episode of current affairs program Scoop aired on Sunday, the production team went undercover to ask the clinic — which they did not identify by name — about the certificates.

A team member who called the clinic was told by a staff member that it offers such certificates and they would cost around HK$3,000 (US$382) to HK$8,000 (US$1,019). The staff member added that she needs to go to the clinic to get the certificate and pay in cash.

The production team then went undercover to the clinic. 

A staff member from the program told the only doctor there she did not want to get vaccinated. She said she has eczema, but no food allergies or other health problems. 

The doctor replied saying he could give her a medical exemption certificate for having an allergy. 

According to the program, the woman did not have to register at the clinic, show her medical history record or undergo any tests. 

The doctor also said she would need to pay HK$3,800 (US$484) for a certificate that exempts her for 90 days or HK$7,800 (US$994) for 180 days. 

When the production team revealed their identity and asked the doctor for a response, he did not directly reply and only asked them to leave in a hostile manner. 

According to the government’s COVID-19 vaccination website, medical practitioners “need to refer to the guidelines issued by the Department of Health and follow the Code of Professional Conduct in making clinical judgments to decide whether the patient’s condition satisfies the listed medical reasons” when considering the issuance of such certificates. 

The website added that medical practitioners should only issue an exemption certificate to a person if they can confirm that person is unfit to receive both types of vaccines available in Hong Kong, which are the ones offered by BioNTech and Sinovac. 

The city launched a vaccine pass on February 24, which required those aged 12 and above, and entering premises such as restaurants, cinemas and shopping malls to show that they had had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they were exempted for medical reasons.

From April 30, the requirement was raised to two coronavirus shots for those aged 18 and above, and those 12 to 17 who have received their first dose more than six months ago.

Starting May 31, those 12 and above who have received their second dose more than six months earlier will need at least three shots to get into these venues. 

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