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Public urged to receive vaccination against seasonal influenza (with photos)

     The Government urges the public to heighten vigilance against seasonal influenza, observe good personal and environmental hygiene, maintain a healthy lifestyle and receive vaccination early in order to be better prepared for the coming winter influenza peak season.

     The Under Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, today (November 26) visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital to inspect the Hospital Authority's vaccination arrangement for healthcare staff. Together with a number of public nurses, Professor Chan received vaccination at the hospital.

     "Vaccination is an important measure to prevent influenza. The protection rate is expected to be up to 60 to 80 per cent. However, the overall vaccination coverage in Hong Kong, particularly among healthcare staff, has all along been relatively low. In fact, vaccination not only can protect healthcare staff, but also reduce the risk of patients being infected.

     "I hope my vaccination activity with frontline nurses can arouse the awareness of healthcare staff and encourage them to receive vaccination. In addition, the Government has written to professional bodies of nurses, appealing them to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

     "The Secretary for Food and Health is very concerned about the situation of healthcare staff in receiving vaccination. He has earlier liaised with the Hospital Authority (HA), asking them to further encourage healthcare staff to receive vaccination as early as possible. In this connection, the HA will implement a series of measures including arrangement of mobile vaccination teams to provide proactive vaccination services to healthcare workers in various departments and clinical areas regularly, setting up designated vaccination stations as a convenient way and enhanced access to vaccination, and setting up vaccination booths to provide on-site injection services at various staff forums, seminars and major training events," Professor Chan added.

     Meanwhile, the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) 2015/16, comprising the Residential Care Home Vaccination Programme and the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS), has been launched in phases from October 15 onwards.

     Apart from the existing eligible groups, the Government provides free influenza vaccination to all elderly people aged 65 or above as well as free and subsidised vaccination to persons with intellectual disability. The objective is to provide better protection for high risk groups and reduce the incidence rate during the winter influenza season.

     As of November 22, some 207,000 doses of seasonal influenza vaccines had been administered to eligible groups under the GVP through public clinics and hospitals and residential care homes for the elderly and the disabled, while some 112,000 doses were administered under the VSS through enrolled private doctors. A total of 319,000 doses have been administered so far, an increase of 16 per cent compared to the same period in 2014/15.

Ends/Thursday, November 26, 2015
Issued at HKT 13:35


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