Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, and other top officials were inoculated against the H1N1 virus to publicize the government's launch of its vaccination program next Monday.
Tsang assured the public that the French-made vaccine was completely safe, despite concerns raised by the recall of nearly 800,000 doses of a different brand in the United States.
[Donald Tsang, Hong Kong Chief Executive]:
"Over two million patients in Europe have been vaccinated with the vaccine as exactly the same I have received earlier today. And it has, the reaction is generally very mild and it's very safe."
Under the program, about two million people considered to be in high-risk groups will be given priority to receive the free vaccinations on a voluntary basis.
But people have been slow to come forward for the vaccinations because of worries about its side effects, which the Health Ministry said were minimal compared to potential dangers of the actual flu.
[York Chow, Hong Kong Health Minister]:
"The chance of them developing side effect is much, much lower than the effect of when they actually have influenza and then develop complications resulting in perhaps more severe illness or even death. So I think it is important to remind these high risk groups that they should seek a vaccination as soon as possible."
So far, over 33,000 people have tested positive for the H1N1 virus in Hong Kong with 45 fatal cases.