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FAQs on the 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. 

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

Domestic helpers can make a booking via the government vaccination scheme website: 

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  
  2. Follow the instructions here:

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

On the vaccination scheme website:

  • Information on the vaccines 
  • Whether I can have Sinovac vaccine 
  • Whether I can have BioNTech vaccine – Taking into account the supply of the BioNTech vaccine, the vaccination rate and its limitations in storage, the CVCs administering the BioNTech vaccine are expected to operate until the end of September. People must make an appointment to receive the first dose of BioNTech vaccine by the end of August in order to complete the vaccination of two doses by the end of September for better protection from the vaccine. Read more: HK Gov

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The Hong Kong Government has reviewed and withdrawn plans to require domestic helpers to be vaccinated before renewal of contract or when signing a new contract (See SCMP, RTHK).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 July 7th, 2021