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FAQs on the Hong Kong Covid-19 vaccine programme for domestic helpers

Can domestic helpers get Covid-19 vaccines in Hong Kong?

Yes. Migrant domestic helpers are included in the Hong Kong government COVID-19 Vaccination scheme. The vaccine is available free-of-charge and a choice of two vaccination options are available at the moment: Sinovac and BioNTech. These options require 2 dosages, meaning a second shot will need to be taken at another date. A third (booster) shot is now available for people who have received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine with the second dose received six months ago.

How can domestic helpers get the Covid-19 vaccination in Hong Kong?

Domestic helpers can make a booking via the government vaccination scheme website: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/ 

Third dose of COVID-19 vaccine (BioNTech & Sinovac)

From 1st of January 2022, all eligible persons who have received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine or Sinovac vaccine with the second dose received six months ago can receive the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
For individuals who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine more than three months ago, if they have personal needs (e.g. travel abroad), they can go to the community vaccination centre and their requests to receive the third dose earlier will be handled on a discretionary basis in accordance with individual circumstances.

A third dose of BioNTech(Comirnaty) vaccine may elicit a better immune response than Sinovac(CoronaVac) vaccine. BioNTech(Comirnaty) vaccine offers greater protection but personal preference is respected.

Domestic helpers can make a booking via the government vaccination scheme website: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/ 

What if I received my first and/or second dose of vaccine outside of Hong Kong, how do I get my third dose in Hong Kong?

If the vaccinated person has received the first and/or second dose of the vaccine outside Hong Kong, they cannot make an appointment for the third dose of the vaccine through the Hong Kong vaccination online system. The above-mentioned people should bring the records for the first and second dose of the vaccination and go directly to the vaccination center for vaccination.

In addition, if the first and/or second dose of the vaccine received outside Hong Kong is not a Sinovac(CoronaVac) or BioNTech(Comirnaty) vaccine, then the individual should consult the medical staff on duty at the vaccination site on the suitability of third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination record keeping

It is recommended for domestic helpers to keep their vaccination records safely and to keep a photo of their vaccination record on their phones in case they are asked for it by the Labour Department officials, police officers, or other authorised personnel. Aside from a photo of the vaccination card, vaccination records can be downloaded online via an app. See below.

How can an electronic vaccination record be downloaded?

  1. Download the iAM Smart app https://www.iamsmart.gov.hk/en/  
  2. Follow the instructions here: https://www.evt.gov.hk/portal/en/workflow2

Vaccination record on LeaveHomeSafe App

Scan and save your Hong Kong Vaccination Record QR code on the LeaveHomeSafe App, so you don’t need to bring the paper vaccination record with you all the time. You may also continue to present paper vaccination records for daily use to fulfill the relevant requirement under the vaccine bubble.

How to declare your non-local vaccination records?

If you have received your vaccination outside of Hong Kong (from recognized list of countries), you need to declare your non-local COVID-19 vaccination record. Please visit https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/pdf/nonlocalvaccFAQs_ENG.pdf for instructions to declare your non-local vaccination record through designated post offices.

You can declare your non-local vaccination records free of charge through the staff at the 18 designated post offices. Upon completion of declaration, a vaccination record QR code for local use will be issued immediately. Applicant needs to fill in the declaration form, present the original copies of his/her identity document and non-local vaccination record. You can also make an online booking via the Hong Kong Post website where you can choose in advance the date, time slot and any of the 18 designated post offices for paying a visit for the service regarding the handling of non-local vaccination record, the Provisional Vaccine Pass and non-local recovery record at designated post offices.

From May 20, you can also declare your non-local vaccination records on here: www.chp.gov.hk/vac-df/ The online platform provides an additional channel for declaring non-local vaccination records apart from boundary control points and designated post offices. Upon completing the declaration, they will be issued with the vaccination record QR codes. If the QR code is compliant with the respective vaccination requirements, it may be used for the Vaccine Pass.

Please note:

Persons who may use the online platform:

  • Persons who only hold non-local vaccination records and without the need to declare any non-local recovery record may make declarations through the online platform.
  • Persons who hold both non-local and local vaccination records and without the need to declare any non-local recovery record may make declarations through the online platform

Persons who are not required to make declarations again:

  • For persons who have declared non-local vaccination records and non-local recovery records (if applicable) and have been issued with vaccination record QR codes since September last year at boundary control points or designated post offices.
  • For persons who have declared non-local vaccination records and non-local recovery records (if applicable) since September last year at boundary control points or designated post offices, if they have subsequently received additional vaccines locally or have been infected and recovered locally, they may download the vaccination record QR codes again directly though the Electronic Vaccination and Testing Record System (www.evt.gov.hk) or the “eHealth” mobile application

Vaccine Pass

From February 24, 2022, under the new measures of the “vaccine bubble”, the Hong Kong Government requires that all customers and visitors of religious venues, malls, supermarkets, wet markets, department stores, hair salons, all catering businesses, bars or pubs, bathhouses, party rooms, clubs or nightclubs, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises and cruise ships, as well as all catering premises that provide dine-in service, amusement game centres, fitness centres, beauty parlours and massage establishments, club-houses, sports premises, swimming pools, hotels and guesthouses, event premises, places of public entertainment, places of amusement, schools, certain government cultural and leisure facilities and public libraries, etc to present the LeaveHomeSafe contact-tracing app and valid vaccination proof to show they have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Under the “vaccine pass” arrangements, in the first phase, starting 24 February, people are required to have at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the second phase, starting at the end of April, people are required to have had two shots. In the third stage, starting on 31 May, all applicable individuals will need to have received the third dose within 6 months after receiving the second dose.

Only under two circumstances can the vaccination requirement be exempted: individuals are 1) ineligible for vaccination due to age; or 2) unfit for vaccination due to health reasons with relevant proof from a medical practitioner.

If you have not yet received the first or second COVID-19 vaccine, then you can make a reservation for vaccination through the government booking system: https://booking.covidvaccine.gov.hk/forms/

And if you have received two doses of the vaccine 6 months ago, you can make a booking through this website to receive the third dose.

Read more here on vaccination requirements for persons previously infected with COVID-19 (recovered persons).

From 9 August 2021, Domestic Helpers who are Fully Vaccinated in Hong Kong allowed to enter from Philippines and Indonesia

Read more: COVID-19 Quarantine arrangements for domestic helpers arriving to Hong Kong from the Philippines and Indonesia

Where can domestic helpers find more information on the Covid-19 vaccine?

On the vaccination scheme website: Information on the vaccines 

Other resources:

Can a domestic helper be told to get the vaccination as part of her job?

The Hong Kong Government has reviewed and withdrawn plans to require domestic helpers to be vaccinated before renewal of contract or when signing a new contract (See SCMP, RTHK).

It is the individual’s decision whether or not to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. We encourage employers and domestic helpers to have open conversations and with an understanding of each other’s concerns. 

See advisory from the Equal Opportunities Commission on this topic: HERE

See advisory by Mayer Brown law firm on making the COVID-19 Vaccine mandatory for employees:

“Following the Hong Kong government’s implementation of a territory-wide free Covid-19 Vaccination Programme for all Hong Kong residents, some employers may need to decide whether they should make it compulsory for their employees to receive Covid-19 vaccination to protect their workforce and customers during the pandemic. One of the concerns is whether the employer faces any legal liability under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance Cap. 282 (ECO) and at common law if the vaccination results in adverse reactions, serious illnesses or death of the employee.” Read more: HERE.

Domestic helpers may not have access to balanced and easy-to-understand information on the Covid-19 vaccines because of language barriers. Employers can help their domestic helpers keep up-to-date with the latest information so they are better equipped to make a decision. 

A household hygiene policy may also be useful, such as frequent handwashing, physical, sanitising after returning indoors, keeping good ventilation at home. 

What should a domestic helper do if she experiences any possible side effects after taking the vaccine?

Like all vaccines, side effects are a possibility – mild side-effects (such as aches, mild fever) are common. Before taking a Covid-19 vaccine, make sure to declare any health conditions and consult a professional medical opinion if necessary. 

In the unlikely event of severe side effects, seek medical attention immediately and report to the Department of Health. 

Who is responsible for medical costs in the event of side effects? 

According to the Labour Department’s Standard Employment Contract guidelines, employers must provide free medical treatment and emergency dental treatment for domestic helpers. It doesn’t matter if the injuries or sickness are related to work. This is why it’s strongly encouraged that you take out an insurance policy with full medical and hospitalization coverage.  Read more about domestic helper insurance

The Hong Kong government has set up an Indemnity Fund for Adverse Events Following Immunization with COVID-19 Vaccines (AEFI Fund) to provide financial support to eligible individuals who experience bad side-effects after taking the vaccine. Read more about it: HERE. Domestic helpers would also be covered by this fund.

We do our best to keep our articles up-to-date. Please double-check with the relevant organisations directly for the latest. 

Labour Department Hotlines:

  • 2717 1771 (General hotline)
  • 2157 9537 (Dedicated hotline for foreign domestic helpers)

Can domestic helpers get the vaccination in the Philippines before they come to Hong Kong?

Read more: HERE

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Last updated on May 20th, 2022
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