SFH observes free pneumococcal vaccinations at nursing home (with photo)

     The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, and the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, Dr Wong Ka-hing, visited a nursing home this afternoon (November 14) to observe the free on-site administration of pneumococcal vaccination (PV) to eligible elderly people.

     They visited Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Nursing Home in Wong Tai Sin and watched the implementation of the Residential Care Home Vaccination Programme (RVP) under the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) 2017/18. Eligible elderly persons in the institution received a dose of free 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). Most of them had been vaccinated with 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) in the past.

     "The Government has introduced PCV13 into the vaccination programmes this year to strengthen elderly people's immunity with a view to enhancing primary care and disease prevention. We urge elderly persons to have dual vaccinations for seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) and PV to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death," Professor Chan said.

     The RVP provides free PV for residents of residential care homes (RCHs) for elderly persons and residents aged 65 or above of RCHs for the disabled via enrolled Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs). PCV13 is effective against both invasive pneumococcal disease and non-invasive pneumococcal pneumonia.

     "Pneumococcal infections occur all year round. As the bacteria may easily spread among residents with close contact, PV is essential in protecting their health, preventing institutional outbreaks and combating emerging antimicrobial resistance of pneumococcal infections," Dr Wong said.

     The CHP appeals to the family members of eligible residents to give their consent for administering PV to the residents. In addition, partnership between RCHs and VMOs is the key to attaining good vaccination coverage among elderly residents.

     The CHP has been closely monitoring the safety and service quality of vaccination activities. Guidelines for RCHs and VMOs are in place. The CHP's officers conduct regular site inspections to ensure service quality.

     As of November 12, about 11 000 and 9 400 doses of PV had been administered via the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS) and GVP (free vaccination) respectively.

     In preparing for the winter influenza season, the VSS and GVP are also providing subsidised and free SIV for eligible persons. As of November 12, about 128 000 and 150 000 doses had been administered respectively.

Ends/Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:13