The COVID-19 vaccine booking system has received 42,000 appointments within its first nine hours of opening, Hong Kong authorities said Tuesday.

Addressing reporters during a morning news conference, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the figures indicated an enthusiasm and urgency among the public to get vaccinated against a virus that has plagued the city for over a year.

Bookings for the long-awaited vaccine opened at midnight Tuesday, targeting Hongkongers belonging to priority groups including persons over 60, healthcare personnel and essential workers.

“Ultimately, the success of the vaccination scheme rests on the participation, cooperation and support of citizens,” Lam, who received the jab with a number of top government officials and lawmakers Monday, said.

She added that authorities will ramp up efforts to fight misinformation surrounding the public health campaign.

Read more: 2 out of 5 Hong Kong youth say no to COVID-19 vaccine: Survey

The vaccination drive will begin this Friday at five community centers and 18 clinics under the Hospital Authority, following the arrival of 1 million vaccines from mainland China manufacturer Sinovac last week.

Many in the city have expressed concerns the Sinovac jab, citing a lack of transparent data about the efficacy of the Beijing-made vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech jab, developed by Germany and US firms, is expected to land in Hong Kong later this month.

This article, Hong Kong sees 42,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments made in first nine hours of booking system opening, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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