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New! COVID-19 Vaccination / Regular Testing Requirements

 

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COVID-19 Vaccination
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COVID-19 Vaccination / Regular Testing Requirements

In order to return to the ideals of our community and resume normal teaching and learning and other campus activities this Fall, the University encourages all students, faculty, staff, and contractors working on campus to get vaccinated.  If anyone cannot be vaccinated for medical / personal reasons, regular COVID-19 testing with results submitted to the University for confirmation is required. Details of testing and reporting requirements are as follows. 

 

Coverage:

The requirements apply to University members who enter campus regularly, including students, staff, University residents (i.e. staff/student family members, domestic helpers), regular visitors and contractors*. 

*Notes: Contractors (including corporate and individual regular contractors) need to submit an individualized vaccination/testing record in a format acceptable to the University. Ad-hoc contractors are exempted. Regular contractors are those who come on campus more than two days at any given time, i.e. the requirement is not applicable to contractors who come for one to two days, but it will be applicable if they come for more than two consecutive days, or more than two days per week.

Children under 12 are exempted from the requirements. Occasional visitors including alumni do not need to comply with the requirements.

 

Requirements:

Starting September 1, 2021 members are required to present a valid electronic Campus Access Pass (CAP) for accessing campus upon fulfilment of vaccination / testing and system submission requirements.  Link to the Vaccination / Testing Reporting System (VTRS) vacwecan.hkust.edu.hk for record submission.

Members need to be either vaccinated or tested every two weeks, and upload relevant records to VTRS to receive the CAP.  For members undergoing regular testing, the System will generate new due dates for submitting testing results and send reminders to the concerned members.   Records submitted are only accessible by designated staff of the Campus Medical Clinic, who will verify submitted documents.  

If staff/students have family members / domestic helpers living on campus, they are responsible for registering them and declaring their vaccination / bi-weekly testing status in the VTRS.  Uploading of vaccination / testing records of family members / domestic helpers is not required.

 

Vaccination:

For members who are fully vaccinated, they will receive a CAP that is valid until May 31, 2022.  Members who have received one dose locally, their CAP will be valid for 30 days from the vaccination date.  This should allow them adequate time to complete the second dose.  If they fail to complete the second dose within 30 days, they will be required to submit regular testing results to VTRS until they have taken the second dose.  Depending on the pandemic situation, arrangements after May 31, 2022 will be reviewed and announced later. 

Members currently outside Hong Kong are highly recommended to have a full course of COVID-19 vaccines officially recognized by their own country or region before traveling to Hong Kong.  Those who have done so should submit official vaccination records issued by their home country or region to VTRS.  If members outside Hong Kong really cannot have a full course of vaccination in their home country or region, they may choose not to take any vaccine at home and take a full course of vaccine after they arrive in Hong Kong. In that case, they have to undergo regular testing starting from September 1, until they receive their first dose. Those who have already received partial vaccination, e.g. one dose out of two, at their home country or region are strongly advised to complete their vaccination before coming to Hong Kong.  Otherwise there may be long delays in completing their vaccination due to case-by-case assessments required by the Department of Health, which may also result in an extended period of testing until their vaccination is completed.

 

Testing:

All test results** are valid for 14 days counting from the date of test as Day 1. Members are required to upload test results and input dates of test in the VTRS. After the input is received, the VTRS will calculate the next due date, i.e. 14 days after last test date (e.g. September 14 if a member last conducted the test on August 31).  The new due date will become the valid date that is shown on the CAP. 

If the due date falls on a day when a staff is physically away from campus, e.g. on leave (sick, annual, special) or business trip, he / she is responsible for inputting a new date in the VTRS with supporting documents uploaded.  The staff concerned must perform the test before he / she returns to campus.

**Notes: Acceptable testing includes deep throat saliva test currently offered free by the Government, and charged PCR tests by Community Testing Centers and accredited private laboratories. Commercially available COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits are also acceptable.

 

Consequences of Non-Compliance by Staff and Students:

Two system reminders will be sent to the staff/ students before the submission due date.  Staff concerned should talk to Department Head (DH) or delegate and students concerned should talk to Program Directors if there is any question or concern.  If the staff/student does not respond and submit relevant records by the due date, a system notification will be sent to the staff and copied to his / her DH or delegate or sent to the student and copied to his / her Program Director; the concerned staff’s/student’s access to campus and campus facilities with access control (e.g. library, sports facilities, halls, library, sports facilities, etc.) will be denied immediately until the University’s requirements are satisfied. 

 

In case the staff concerned has genuine difficulties in timely complying with the regular testing requirement to receive a valid CAP to return to work on campus, relevant DH or delegate may allow him / her to work from home with pay for a maximum of two days, and to submit a test result within the 2-day grace period. 

Within the grace period, DH or delegate should communicate with the staff concerned to better understand the staff’s reasons or difficulties of non-compliance, and try to come up with a mutually agreeable solution which may include:

  • Approving the staff to take their accrued annual leave with pay, until a test result is submitted; or
  • Approving the staff to take no-pay leave for up to 7 calendar days (following the University’s established procedures) until a test result is submitted.

Under usual circumstances, the 2-day grace period and no-pay leave will not be given to staff members who repeatedly fail to comply with the regular testing requirement.   Extending the 2-day grace period may be considered under exceptional circumstances for well justifiable reasons with special approval of the Vice-President for Administration and Business or the Director of Human Resources.  If falsified information / record is found to have been submitted by any staff, the matter will be handled in accordance with University’s established mechanism and may result in disciplinary actions.

 

Students are reminded to take note of the potential consequences that may arise out of a denial of access to campus including, for instance, possible inability to meet relevant attendance / course requirements, or taking part in in-person exams, etc.

If falsified information / record is found to have been provided by any student, the matter will be handled in accordance with the University’s established mechanism, and may result in disciplinary actions as a result of the misconduct committed.

 

Government / University Support:

Members who cannot take vaccine due to medical reasons may collect rapid test kits for free from the HSEO office (Rooms 2005 to 2007, Lift #4) during University office hours.  Members need to upload relevant medical certificate to VTRS at least one day before and present their University ID for test kit collection.  However, NO free test kits will be provided to family members and domestic helpers. The kits will only be made available to them at cost when supply is available.

Staff in Band 1 & 2 who are required to do testing may purchase rapid test kits at a discounted price at the Souvenir Shop and seek 50% reimbursement from their Department / Unit.  Rapid test kits are on sale to other members of the University at the Souvenir Shop later if stock is available.  Results of deep throat saliva tests, currently offered for free by the Government will also be acceptable.

Students who require financial assistance may apply for the University COVID-19 Student Hardship Relief Fund through a regular needs-based assessment.  Once approved, they can purchase rapid test kits from the Souvenir Shop at a discounted price, and then seek 50% reimbursement from the Scholarships and Financial Aid Office.  Rapid test kits are on sale to other members of the University at the Souvenir Shop later if stock is available.  Results of deep throat saliva tests, currently offered for free by the Government will also be acceptable.

 

The above requirements will be reviewed and adjusted as needed in response to the pandemic situation.

 

Questions / Enquiries:

If you have questions, please send your enquiries to the following contacts:

  • Vaccination / testing requirements: safety@ust.hk
  • Personnel matters of staff: hroffice@ust.hk
  • General issues on staff compliance: the respective supervisor / Department Head (DH)
  • Program arrangements for students: the respective Schools / Departments
  • Other questions including non-compliance and University support: dst@ust.hk (for undergraduate students); fytgs@ust.hk (for postgraduate students)

 

 

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The Government’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The Hong Kong Government has set up Community Vaccination Centres (CVCs) to provide priority COVID-19 vaccination. Selected General Outpatient Clinics of the Hospital Authority also provide priority COVID-19 vaccination. See the official website for details and online booking system for Hong Kong residents. Some non-Hong Kong residents are also eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in CVCs but they have to make appointments in post offices rather than using the online booking system (see this link for details).

Some CVCs are designated to provide Sinovac CoronaVac (科興 克爾來福) vaccines and some CVCs provide Fosun Pharma/BioNTech Comirnaty (復必泰) vaccines. Other vaccines are not available at the moment. Individuals should complete their vaccination series with the same vaccine.

For enquiries about the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, please browse this website or contact the Centre for Health Protection, Programme Management and Vaccination Division at 2125 2125 or email vacs@dh.gov.hk.

The Campus Medical Clinic has previously got a limited quota for eligible HKUST members to receive Sinovac CoronaVac (科興 克爾來福) at the Clinic but all quotas have already been allocated. Please use other Government channels. For enquiries about COVID-19 vaccination in the Campus Medical Clinic, please contact the Health Concepts office at 2537 6063.

An on-campus vaccination exercise was previously carried out on 23 & 24 June and 21 & 22 July 2021. Please use other Government channels for vaccination.

 

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Vaccination Records

After vaccination at CVCs, patients will receive paper vaccination records. They can also download their electronic vaccination records via the "iAM Smart" mobile app, or through the “eHealth” mobile app.

The Government has set up a website to facilitate public downloading of their own COVID-19 vaccination record and testing record as electronic version of the records to ease the storage and display in their smart mobile phone.

The public can also download their “electronic vaccination record” through mobile app "iAM Smart".

 

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Salient facts about COVID-19 and vaccination

Here are some salient facts to consider in deciding whether to get the COVID-19 vaccination: 

  • COVID-19 is a deadly infectious disease, many times more dangerous than seasonal influenza. As of 7 June, 2021, there have been 11,859 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in Hong Kong, 210 patients died. The mortality rate is 1.77%.
  • As in all medical procedures, there is risk involved in vaccination. Narrowly focusing on possible adverse effects after vaccination distorts an objective overall assessment of the risk.
  • Up to 30 May 2021, about 2,364,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Hong Kong, with 3,289 reports, or 0.14% of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI). As defined by WHO, AEFI are any medical occurrence which follows vaccination and does not necessarily have a causal relationship with it. So far, an expert committee has reviewed each case of AEFI and has not identified any case of death to have causal relationship with the COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Another way to assess risk of vaccination is to see whether it increases the rates of adverse health events such as death, acute stroke, and acute heart attack. A rolling review of data from local hospitals shows that vaccinated people actually have LOWER rates of these adverse events compared to people who have not been vaccinated.
  • These data clearly demonstrate the risk of COVID-19 vaccination is minimal, while it is indisputable that the vaccine effectively protects people from the deadly disease by significantly reducing the risk of infection, and even if infected, it greatly reduces the likelihood of hospitalization or death.

 

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