Industry Statement by Medical Insurance Association - Mitigating Risk Arising from COVID-19


COVID-19 has left a lasting imprint on our families and communities. We extend our sympathy to those who have lost their loved ones and express our gratitude to the healthcare personnel and other essential and frontline workers for their tireless commitment and care. Insurance is a business that provides financial security at times of uncertainty and loss. As professionals in managing risk on a daily basis, our industry strongly believes that vaccination is the best way to mitigate the risk posed by COVID-19. In the message below, we would like to highlight the importance of COVID-19 vaccination based on public health considerations and from the perspective of insurers’ medical directors.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh its risks

The benefit of receiving COVID-19 vaccination is twofold. First, the COVID-19 vaccination reduces the chance of becoming infected with COVID-19. Second, COVID-19 vaccination reduces the severity of diseases should one become infected, which in turn reduces the chance of hospitalization, development of critical respiratory, cardiac or other complications, and death. Despite the emergence of new viral variants, real-world effectiveness studies have shown that the vaccine is still highly effective against preventing both symptomatic and severe disease.1,2

Vaccines are relatively safe. As of 3 September 2021, more than 5.39 billion doses have been administered worldwide.3 While it is acknowledged that receiving a vaccination is not without risk, the risk is outweighed by its benefits. Most side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, such as headache, fever, and muscle pain are well tolerated, short-lived, and manageable with analgesics. More significant adverse events, such as Bell’s palsy (facial drooping) and anaphylaxis (acute allergic reaction) can occur but rarely.

Anaphylaxis following vaccination was reported at an approximate rate of 5 events per 1 million doses.4 A recent study from Hong Kong published in The Lancet reported 2 to 4.8 additional cases of Bell’s palsy per 100,000 vaccine doses.5 In most patients, Bell’s palsy will resolve itself over time. The “Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccines in Hong Kong” published by the Drug Office, Department of Health provides transparent figures on the risks of vaccines and provides more objective data on the latest adverse event statistics in Hong Kong.6

The insurance industry supports COVID-19 vaccination in Hong Kong

In the event any adverse reactions related to COVID-19 vaccination should occur, and hospitalization is required, insurance companies in Hong Kong will regard these admissions as medically necessary, and the medical expenses reimbursable according to the terms and conditions under indemnity hospital insurance plans. Furthermore, to provide additional peace of mind to policyholders, various insurance companies have launched vaccine protection insurance cover, either in the form of hospital cash or death benefits. Many of these are provided free of charge to policyholders. Insurance companies have also helped promote the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination by conducting webinars, hosting informative online consultations or creating fact sheets. In addition, some companies have arranged on-site COVID-19 vaccinations for their staff and clients.

To conclude, vaccination is safe and effective, and the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is prudent and responsible. Getting vaccinated will not only protect you and your family but also contribute to the community in the effort to achieve herd immunity. The pandemic continues to impact us, and new information and insights continue to emerge, but the further loss is preventable. The insurance industry strongly encourages our colleagues and the general public to receive COVID-19 vaccination following the Hong Kong Government’s recommendations and health authority guidance. If there are any uncertainties about vaccination, the public should seek medical advice from their family doctors.

1 Bernal J.L. et al. Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the B.1.617.2 variant, medRxiv (May 24, 2021). DOI:

2 Fowlkes A, Gaglani M, Groover K, et al. Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Frontline Workers Before and During B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant Predominance — Eight U.S. Locations, December 2020–August 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 70(34); 1167-1169 (August 27, 2021). DOI:

3 The figures presented above are quoted from Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker:

4 Shimabukuro T (2021). COVID-19 vaccine safety update, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting (January 27, 2021). URL:

5 Eric Yuk Fai Wan, Celine Sze Ling Chui, Francisco Tsz Tsun Lai, Esther Wai Yin Chan, Xue Li, Vincent Ka Chun Yan, et al. Bell's palsy following vaccination with mRNA (BNT162b2) and inactivated (CoronaVac) SARS-CoV-2 vaccines: a case series and nested case-control study. The Lancet (August 16, 2021). DOI:

6 “Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccines in Hong Kong” published by the Drug Office, Department of Health available at: