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Seasonal influenza vaccination programmes in 2017/18 to be launched
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (June 22) announced that this year's seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) programmes, which will cover last year's expanded population groups, will be launched in October and November to continue protecting high-risk groups from the possible winter influenza season.

     Taking into consideration local epidemiology, the latest scientific evidence and overseas practices, the CHP's Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases continues to recommend the current priority groups to receive SIV. Under the 2017/18 programmes, the eligible groups and arrangements for free and subsidised SIV will be the same as last year. The subsidy level will remain at $190 per dose. The programmes are detailed in the attachments.

     Reviewing the 2016/17 season, a total of 701 000 doses of SIV were administered, an increase of 18.6 per cent compared to 2015/16, including about 413 000 via the Government Vaccination Programme (free vaccination) and 288 000 under the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (subsidised vaccination), increases of 4.7 per cent and 46.4 per cent respectively. While the increase was mainly due to the new eligible group of children aged from 6 to below 12, the increase was also caused by the increase in vaccination for eligible children aged from 6 months to under 6 years and eligible elderly persons.

     A total of 480 000 doses were administered to eligible elderly persons under both programmes above in 2016/17, achieving an SIV coverage rate of around 40 per cent, which was comparable to some overseas countries. Elderly people should receive SIV to reduce the risk of influenza-associated complications, hospitalisation and death. Regarding the newly introduced group of children aged from 6 to below 12, about 57 000 doses were delivered. Overseas studies have shown that vaccinating young school children may potentially reduce school absenteeism and influenza transmission in the community.

     "We will continue to work closely with stakeholders, private doctors, kindergartens and primary schools to promptly and better prepare outreach vaccination activities on campus," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "Briefings on arrangements in the coming season will be held for healthcare providers, community partners and the education sector to prepare for the launch of vaccination programmes," the spokesman added.

     The public may call the CHP's hotline (2125 2125) for enquiries.
Ends/Thursday, June 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:30
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