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Appointment booking invited for human swine influenza inoculation for young children
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     The Department of Health (DH) is inviting parents and guardians to make appointments for their children aged between six months and less than six years who are Hong Kong residents to be vaccinated against human swine influenza (HSI) at the department's Student Health Service Centres (SHSC).

     Bookings will be accepted from Monday (December 14). The vaccinations, given free of charge to this group of children, are part of the Government's HSI Vaccination Programme to be rolled out from December 21 onwards.

     Children aged six or above and studying in local kindergartens or child care centres can also receive free vaccinations at the SHSCs by presenting documentary proof of preschool education, such as a student handbook.

     A department spokesman said parents or guardians should bring along their children's identity document(s) to one of the department's SHSCs in person for booking.

     "Telephone booking will not be entertained," he said.

     Service hours of the centres for appointment booking are:
 
     Monday to Friday:
     9am to 12.45pm
     2pm to 5.45 pm
     (closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays)

     Other than receiving HSI vaccination at the SHSCs, parents may also have their children vaccinated by private doctors enrolled in the HSI Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (HSIVSS) with effect from December 28. For each dose of vaccine administered by a private doctor, the child receives a government subsidy of $129 covering the vaccine cost and injection cost.

     Enrolled doctors are required to display their fees (exclusive of government subsidy) on a poster in the clinic waiting area. Their fees will also be listed at the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) website at (www.chp.gov.hk).  

     Children who fall outside the target age range or who are not Hong Kong residents will have to pay the full cost if they wish to be vaccinated by a doctor enrolled in HSIVSS.  

     Meanwhile, the spokesman reminded the public that under the HSI Vaccination Programme, five target groups making up a total of two million people could receive free or subsidised vaccination. The groups are:

-  healthcare workers;
- persons with chronic illnesses and pregnant women;
- children between the age of six months and less than six years;
- elderly persons aged 65 years or above; and
- pig farmers and pig-slaughtering industry personnel.

     The vaccinations will be given at hospitals, clinics and health centres of the DH and the Hospital Authority (HA) free of charge starting December 21.

     "Furthermore, from December 28 onwards, target groups such as patients with chronic diseases and pregnant women, children aged from six months to under six years and elderly aged 65 and above can choose to be vaccinated at enrolled private medical clinics on government subsidy," the spokesman said.

     The spokesman highlighted vaccination arrangements for the target groups as follows:

     Healthcare professionals registered with their statutory boards or councils and staff of medical/dental/Chinese medicine clinics will receive a referral letter from the DH. They can bring this referral letter to a designated HA clinic for vaccination. Staff of residential care homes, private hospitals, clinics of HSIVSS enrolled doctors, the HA and DH will be vaccinated at their workplace.

     Likewise, pig farmers and slaughterhouse workers can bring along a referral letter issued by the DH to a designated HA clinic to receive the jab.

     Other target groups are advised to go where they usually receive medical care to get vaccinated. Persons with chronic illnesses and pregnant women at HA and DH clinics will receive jabs during their visits to the respective clinics.

     Those patronising private doctors can get the jabs from a private doctor enrolled in the scheme, or receive vaccinations at an HA General Outpatient Clinic (for chronic patients) or a DH Maternal and Child Health Centre (for pregnant women) as appropriate.  

     Patients who seek medical care at private doctors who do not provide HSI vaccinations can ask their private doctors to complete a referral form designed by the DH and then bring along the referral form to the HA and DH clinics to receive vaccinations.

     Children between the age of six months and less than six years can either receive vaccinations at the DH's SHSCs or do so at private doctors enrolled in HSIVSS.

     Elderly persons aged 65 years or above may go to HA General Outpatient Clinics, private doctors enrolled in HSIVSS, DH Elderly Health Centres (for members of such centres) for vaccination.

     The spokesman repeated that subsidised vaccination would be available at private doctors' clinics with effect from December 28 when the HSI Vaccination Subsidised Scheme is launched.  

     The spokesman reminded those receiving the jabs to bring along their Hong Kong identity card or other documentary proof of Hong Kong resident status. They should also bring along their vaccination record if they have one.

     Parents may visit the Student Health Service website at www.studenthealth.gov.hk for location maps of the centres. For more information about the HSI vaccination programme, please visit the CHP website or call the DH at 2125 2125.

Ends/Thursday, December 10, 2009
Issued at HKT 20:13

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