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10 jab centres to extend operation

The Government announced today that 10 community vaccination centres (CVCs) will extend their operation until March 31, 2022.   It explained that, in view of the vaccines supply and the demand for vaccination, the Government will adjust the vaccination programme's operation mode.   It will gradually shift the focus from providing vaccination services mainly through CVCs as in the past to a variety of vaccination venues including CVCs, Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Stations, private clinics and the mobile vaccination station to be launched early next month.   From 9am tomorrow, the online booking system will gradually release the quota of the 10 CVCs as from January 1, 2022, for booking of the vaccination service.   Eleven CVCs will be closed by the end of this year. They are located at Kowloon Bay Sports Centre, Tin Fai Road Sports Centre, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Centre, Education Bureau Kowloon Tong Education Services Centre, Ho Man Tin Sports Centre, Boundary Str

Gerontechnology meets social needs

With our city's population ageing rapidly, there is a growing consensus on using novel technology to meet the needs of elderly and their caregivers. Gerontechnology, combining gerontology with technology, is widely recognised as a key to tackle this challenge. One of the Government initiatives at work in promoting gerontechnology is through the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) under the Commission on Poverty. The SIE Fund has engaged a consortium of 10 organisations in January this year to develop and operate a one-stop Gerontechnology Platform. Through promoting participation, establishing cross-sectoral partnership and fostering collaboration, the platform links up different stakeholders on the supply and demand sides to enhance the synergistic effect in order to promote the development and application of gerontechnology in Hong Kong. This would enhance the welfare, living quality, independent living skills and self-care capabilities of the elderly under the new normal, and provide support to their families, carers, care workers and care providers.   Apart from this flagship project, the SIE Fund has also been funding social entrepreneurs, companies and organisations to take forward innovative projects to address social needs using innovative ideas, services and products. I am glad that the SIE Fund has already supported about 50 projects targeting elderly with the adoption of technology. These projects have reached out to over 13,000 elderly in need.   On the other hand, to promote wider use of technology to enable an active and healthy living of the elderly in the community, the Government has been running the $1 billion worth Innovation & Technology Fund for Application in Elderly & Rehabilitation Care since 2018 to help elderly and rehabilitation service units procure or rent technology products to improve the quality of life of service users and reduce pressure and burden on care staff. So far, over $380 million of subsidy has been approved for more than 1,300 elderly and rehabilitation service units to procure or rent around 10,000 technology products, benefitting thousands of our elderly.   To drive the adoption of gerontechnology, we need more research and development, R&D. To this end, the Government has been providing funding for R&D centres, designated local public and academic research institutes as well as private companies through various schemes under the Innovation & Technology Fund to encourage more R&D projects and devise technology solutions related to gerontechnology. The Health@InnoHK has also been set up at the Hong Kong Science Park as a research cluster to attract talents around the globe.   The Policy Address this year has put forward a number of I&T (innovation & technology) initiatives that are forward-looking and groundbreaking. One of them is the setting up of an InnoLife Healthtech Hub in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation & Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, with the 16 life and health-related laboratories in the InnoHK research clusters and the eight State Key Laboratories in life and health disciplines as the basis, to focus on related research work. This is a good illustration of Hong Kong's advantages and strengths in scientific research. My bureau, the Innovation & Technology Bureau, has been tasked to press ahead with this initiative and I look forward to seeing the hub come into play and gerontechnology-related research outcomes turn into products in the years to come.   All the things that I have said could not be done by the Government alone. We need the full support from everyone in the society. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Hong Kong Metropolitan University for organising the conference again this year. Promotion and partnership are of paramount importance. Our conference today is an important platform connecting various stakeholders. This major event offers great opportunities linking up academics, researchers, service providers, both NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and the private sector as well as suppliers. And we are more than happy to play our part in fostering a vibrant gerontechnology ecosystem within which wider cross-sector collaboration will bear fruit. You can rest assured that our support for gerontechnology will continue to strengthen.   Secretary for Innovation & Technology Alfred Sit gave these remarks at the International Conference on Gerontechnology 2021 at the Hong Kong Metropolitan University on November 23.
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