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HA gets ready for Government Vaccination Programme

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     In accordance with the Government Vaccination Programme for 2011-12, the Hospital Authority (HA) out-patient clinics will start providing seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations to eligible persons commencing November 1.  

The HA spokesman today (October 28) said that eligible persons for seasonal influenza vaccinations include the following categories of people who attend public out-patient clinics:

1. Paediatric out-patients with chronic medical problems or on long-term aspirin therapy;
2. Elderly people aged 65 or above with chronic medical problems including those who have chronic cardiovascular (except hypertension without complications), pulmonary, metabolic or renal diseases or are obese (BMI 30 or above); and
3. Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) in the following categories:

     i) Persons with chronic medical problems of all ages
     ii) Persons aged 50 or above
     iii) All pregnant women with antenatal appointments in public clinics

     Poultry workers, pig farmers and people who are involved in poultry culling operations or the pig-slaughtering industry, as referred by relevant departments, can also receive seasonal influenza vaccinations in 21 designated out-patient clinics from November 15.

     Meanwhile, pneumococcal vaccinations will continue to be provided for the elderly this year, including the following categories of eligible persons who attend public out-patient clinics:

1. Elderly people aged 65 or above with chronic medical problems and follow-up in public clinics; and
2. Elderly people aged 65 or above without known chronic medical problems but on CSSA

     To assist patients receiving vaccinations at the clinics, the spokesman advised patients to attend the clinics and receive vaccinations at the time of their pre-scheduled follow-up appointment between November 1 and March 31,2012 . Patients whose follow-up appointment date falls outside the specified vaccination period should enquire at the clinics about necessary arrangements.

     "The above-mentioned eligible persons who wish to receive vaccinations should attend the out-patient clinics while bringing relevant documents, including their Government Vaccination Record Card, Hong Kong identity card, HA out-patient clinic appointment slip, CSSA certificate and vaccination authorisation issued by the Government. They will be vaccinated if assessed as clinically suitable by clinic staff," the spokesman said.

     As in previous years, the HA will start its annual seasonal influenza vaccinations for long-stay in-patients with chronic diseases in public hospitals on November 1. The programme covers in-patients in infirmary and psychiatric units. The long-stay in-patients aged 65 or above will additionally be offered pneumococcal vaccinations. The HA will also arrange vaccinations for staff from October 18.

     The HA spokesman stressed that both vaccines are safe. "Protection provided by the seasonal influenza vaccination develops about two weeks after getting a flu shot and may last up to one year. It is usually well tolerated apart from occasional soreness at the injection site. In rare instances, the recipient may experience fever, muscle and joint pain and tiredness lasting up to one or two days after vaccination," the spokesman said.

     "As for the pneumococcal vaccine, protection will be generated in two to three weeks after inoculation. We do not recommend those elderly people who have received the pneumococcal vaccination within the past five years to re-vaccinate. The vaccination site may have slight swelling and pain for a short period after injection.

     "People who have flu symptoms, fever or are severely ill at the time of vaccination should defer the vaccination and wait until they have recovered. Patients can enquire at the respective specialist or general out-patient clinics they are attending, or make general enquiries at the HA hotline, 2300 6555, during office hours," the spokesman remarked.

     The HA will promote the vaccination programme through different channels, including the display of posters (see Annex) at prominent places in public hospitals, specialist out-patient clinics and general out-patient clinics.

Ends/Friday, October 28, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:16


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