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Scientific Committee's interim recommendation on seasonal influenza vaccination for 2014/15 season

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health announced today (April 10) the interim recommendation by the CHP's Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases (SCVPD) on the application of seasonal influenza vaccination in Hong Kong for the forthcoming influenza season.

     Based on local laboratory data on seasonal influenza from 2003 to 2014 as well as surveillance data on severe influenza cases from 2011 to 2014, the SCVPD's Working Group on Influenza Vaccination noted that, on average, influenza A and influenza B viruses respectively had constituted about 85 per cent and 15 per cent of all positive laboratory detections of influenza viruses and severe influenza cases with varying proportions detected in each season.

     In addition, each of the two main lineages of influenza B viruses, namely the Yamagata and Victoria lineages, constituted about half of all positive laboratory detections of influenza B on average, with varying proportions detected in each season.

     "Trivalent influenza vaccine, comprising two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus, may hence potentially prevent the majority of influenza burden in Hong Kong, while quadrivalent influenza vaccine, containing an additional influenza B virus, may potentially offer additional protection against influenza B," a spokesman for the CHP remarked.

     Given that influenza vaccine is safe and effective, and that serious influenza infections can occur even in healthy individuals, seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months or above except those with known contraindications.

     According to the CHP's seasonal influenza vaccination coverage survey for the 2012/13 season, the overall seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in the local general population was only 14 per cent, which was sub-optimal.

     "We call on the health-care sector and the community at large for joint efforts to improve the local influenza vaccination coverage. Members of the public can consult their family doctors on vaccination for personal protection," the spokesman said.

     The CHP will closely monitor the latest local and overseas epidemiology of seasonal influenza, scientific evidence of influenza vaccination, recommendations of the World Health Organization, and the local vaccination coverage. The SCVPD will then review the priority groups recommended for receiving seasonal influenza vaccination before the arrival of the 2014/15 season.

     The full version of the SCVPD's interim recommendation has been uploaded to its website (

Ends/Thursday, April 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:00


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