Hong Kong Football Club: ‘No Pay Rise’ for Unvaccinated Staff

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GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Hong Kong Football Club issued a memo to its staff Tuesday warning it will bar any employees who “refuse” to receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccine from eligibility for salary increases, bonuses, and promotions.

The Hong Kong Football Club is a private, members-only sport and social club in Hong Kong. The club’s general manager, Mark Pawley, issued a memorandum to “all management and staff” at the facility on June 1 entitled “Taking the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] Vaccination.”

“Staff who refuse to take the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] jab(s) or cannot produce an exemption certificate (before the end of June 2021) will receive no pay rise, no discretionary bonuses and no promotions going forward,” the memo read.

“This is the first known case of employers punishing their staff for not taking the [Chinese coronavirus] jab,” local news outlet Coconuts Hong Kong noted of the Hong Kong Football Club’s vaccine policy.

Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel offered its staff “HK$2,000 (US$258) and two days of paid leave if they receive the two doses [of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine] by August 31,” Coconuts Hong Kong reported on May 21.

The vaccinated staff’s bonus “will double to HK$4,000 (US$515) if the vaccination rate in the company reaches 70 percent by the end of August,” according to the news site.

This incentive is similar to one advertised by the Hong Kong Football Club in its June 1 memo.

“Upon 100 percent vaccination of all staff members everyone will receive an additional [HK] $1000 [U.S. $129],” the company stated.

The Hong Kong Football Club also offered a cash incentive of HK $2000 (U.S. $258) for employees who receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccination by the end of July.

Hong Kong health authorities have detected high degrees of hesitancy toward the Chinese coronavirus vaccines offered in the city “attributed to a lack of trust in the government and concern about potential side effects,” Coconuts Hong Kong reported on June 2.

The Hong Kong government uses the Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine candidate Coronavac in its official coronavirus vaccine campaign. At least three people died shortly after receiving Coronavac through Hong Kong’s inoculation drive in March. The deaths caused coronavirus vaccine registrations to plummet city-wide, with many people simply not showing up for their pre-booked appointments.

Late-stage trials for Coronavac showed it had an efficacy rate of just 50.38 percent against the Chinese coronavirus. Although the vaccine candidate was not approved for use in people aged 60 and over in China at the time, Hong Kong authorities approved Coronavac for emergency use in the city for the demographic in March “after a decision by local authorities to waive a requirement for developers to publish its final-stage trial results in peer-reviewed medical journals,” Hong Kong Free Press reported.

Hong Kong’s government on June 1 announced it would “cease publicizing post-[Chinese coronavirus] vaccine deaths unless evidence suggests that the fatalities are related to the jab. The announcements — and local media outlets’ subsequent reporting —has fueled vaccine skepticism,” according to Coconuts Hong Kong.

“Of the 21 death cases in Hong Kong occurring within 14 days of getting the vaccine, none have been identified as having a causal relationship with the jab,” the news site noted.

“As of official data Wednesday [June 2], just over 21 percent and 15 percent of Hongkongers have received their first and second COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine dose respectively,” Coconuts Hong Kong reported.

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