Authorities to study judgment after losing in vaccine exemption controversy: John Lee

The latest judgment ruling that the Health Secretary does not have the legal authority to invalidate more than 20,000 vaccine exemptions will be fully investigated by the Justice Department, chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu said, as he stressed that all Covid-19 restrictions must protect public health.

A High Court judge delivered a judgment on Friday in which he ruled that Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau had no legal power to invalidate more than 20,000 vaccine exemptions issued by seven doctors – arrested for allegedly “selling” the exemptions.

On a Saturday morning radio show, Lee said the judgment goes deep into the details. The Health Bureau and the DoJ will fully study the judgment to decide on further follow-up action.

He pointed out that the government always does things according to the law.

Regarding suggestions for further changes to the law by executive advisers, Lee believes that this controversy involves professional concerns and that additional authorities will act on advice from the DoJ.

The Hong Kong leader stressed that all Covid-19 curbs are there to protect public health, with the intention of keeping the pandemic under control and protecting the vulnerable.

When asked if this lost judicial review would weaken the RAD’s authority over the administration, Lee said the city had a well-established legal system and authorities at the time made the decision based on their interpretation of articles of law.

If the court interprets the articles differently, the DoJ will follow up.

On another note, Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan, civil service secretary, said about 300 civil servants using the vaccine exemptions issued by the seven doctors can still go to work. She added that there will be no special rules if they also have to submit a new one.

Denise W. Whigham