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HA gets ready for Government Vaccination Programme
The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     Public hospitals and out-patient clinics of the Hospital Authority (HA) will start providing seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations in two phases to eligible persons commencing next Thursday (November 3) to dovetail with the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) for 2016-17.
     The HA Senior Manager (Infection, Emergency & Contingency), Dr Vivien Chuang, today (October 28) said at a press briefing that the vaccination programme this year will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the HA will provide influenza vaccination to eligible patients of public hospitals and outpatient clinics. The second phase will commence on November 14 to cover community elderly persons aged 65 or above.
     Eligible persons under the first phase of the vaccination programme include the following categories:

     1. Paediatric outpatients with chronic medical problems or on long-term aspirin therapy;
     2. Elderly people aged 65 or above following up at specialist or general out-patient clinics;
     3. Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) or Hong Kong residents who hold a valid Certificate for Waiver of Medical Charges under 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;
     4. Non-institutionalised persons with intellectual disability and being treated at public hospitals or followed up in public clinics; and
     5. Persons receiving Disability Allowance and being treated at public hospitals or followed up in public clinics.
     "We will arrange influenza vaccination for our patients in the first phase in order to enhance their immunity against seasonal flu, reducing their risk of infection during the coming winter flu surge, and thus relieving public hospitals for the demand for healthcare services during the period," Dr Chuang said.
      Regarding the second phase of vaccination for community elderly persons aged 65 or above, Dr Chuang added, "To enable eligible elderly people to receive the vaccination and get them prepared for the coming flu surge, community elderly persons aged 65 or above can receive vaccination at the General Outpatient Clinics (GOPCs) of the HA from November 14."

     "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 vaccination in 22 designated GOPCs from November 21."

     On the other hand, pneumococcal vaccination will continue to be provided for the elderly this year, including the following categories of eligible persons who attend public outpatient clinics but have never received pneumococcal vaccine: 

     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 or Hong Kong residents who hold a valid Certificate for Waiver of Medical Charges.

     To assist patients receiving vaccination at the clinics, Dr Chuang advised patients having regular follow-up at Specialist Outpatient Clinics or GOPCs to receive vaccination at the time of their pre-scheduled follow-up appointment within the vaccination period. Patients whose follow-up appointment date falls outside the specified vaccination period should enquire at the clinics for the necessary arrangements.
     "The above-mentioned eligible persons who wish to receive vaccination should attend the outpatient clinics while bringing along relevant documents, which include a Government Vaccination Record Card, a Hong Kong identity card, an HA outpatient clinic appointment slip, a CSSA certificate, a valid Certificate for Waiver of Medical Charges, a vaccination authorisation issued by the Government and a Disability Allowance approval letter issued by the Social Welfare Department (the vaccination date should fall within the period of receiving Disability Allowance). They will receive vaccinations if assessed as clinically suitable by clinic staff."
     As in previous years, the HA will start seasonal influenza vaccination for hospitalised patients with chronic problems, such as inpatients of infirmary, psycho-geriatric, mentally ill and mentally handicapped units or wards from next Thursday (November 3). The above-mentioned inpatients aged 65 or above and who have never received pneumococcal vaccination will additionally be offered pneumococcal vaccination. The HA has also started to provide flu vaccination for staff on a voluntary basis from October 19.
     Dr Chuang stressed that both vaccines are safe. Quadrivalent influenza vaccines will be used in the GVP for 2016-17. The vaccine compositions of the 2016-17 seasonal influenza vaccine are different from those in 2015-16. Protection from seasonal influenza vaccination develops about two to four weeks after getting a flu shot and may last up for six months at least. It is usually well tolerated apart from occasional soreness at the injection site. In rare instances, the recipient may experience fever, muscle and joint pains, and tiredness after vaccination and lasting up to one to two days. 
     "As for the pneumococcal vaccine, protection will be generated in two to three weeks after inoculation," Dr Chuang remarked.

     Dr Chuang also reminded members of the public not to receive the vaccination when they have influenza symptoms, fever or severe illness. The vaccination is not suitable for anyone with the above symptoms. They should defer the vaccination until they have recovered. Members of the public can enquire at the respective specialist clinics or general out-patient clinics where they are attending, or make enquiries at the HA hotline 2300 6555  during office hours.

     The HA will promote the vaccination programme through different channels, including the display of notices at prominent places of public hospitals and out-patient clinics.
Ends/Friday, October 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:10
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