Pharmacists on Sunday advised people not to wait for a second generation vaccine as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread across the globe.

The call comes as about four out of 10 people polled by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong said they still haven’t been vaccinated.

About 5,600 people were quizzed by the group in October.

More than half of those who expressed an intention to eventually get inoculated said they are still waiting for a better vaccine to come, while others thought it wasn’t urgent.

But the society’s president, William Chui, urged people to reconsider their decision.

“It takes about at least about six months for the introduction of the vaccine against Omicron, the new variant. That’s why I suggest people to have vaccination as soon as possible so that they have more neutralising anti-body in their system,” he said.

Chui added that the survey showed the number of people who prefer the BioNTech jabs over Sinovac had increased significantly, as they become more concerned about the spread of variants.

About 86 percent of the respondents indicated that they prefer BioNTech, compared with just three percent who would opt or have opted for Sinovac.

“People know that the efficacy of the BioNTech vaccine is very high, about 91 percent in the real world data… Sinovac’s efficacy is quite low, compared with BioNTech, talking about 55 to 60 percent,” he said.

The society called on the government to consider procuring the Sinopharm vaccine – in addition to the current two – saying it has a relatively high efficacy rate.

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