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Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination programmes in 2017/18 to be launched tomorrow in phases (with photo)
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (October 17) announced that the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme and Government Vaccination Programme 2017/18 would be launched on October 18 and 25 respectively, providing subsidised or free seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) and pneumococcal vaccination (PV) to eligible persons in phases.

     Regarding SIV, last year's expanded population groups will continue to be covered by this year's programmes to protect them from seasonal influenza (SI). Free (see Annex 1) and subsidised (Annex 2) SIV will be provided to the corresponding eligible persons in the public and private sectors respectively. The subsidy level will remain at $190 per dose.

     Hosting a press conference today, the Controller of the CHP, Dr Wong Ka-hing, said, "After the end of the summer influenza season in late August 2017, the local SI activity has remained at a low level, with the positive percentage of SI viruses at 1.77 per cent in the week ending October 7. Based on past epidemiological patterns, we expect that the winter influenza season may arrive in early 2018.

     "No significant antigenic changes have been detected in the circulating viruses in the recent summer in Hong Kong. When vaccine strains closely match with circulating viruses, vaccine efficacy in individuals aged below 65 typically ranges from 70 to 90 per cent. As SIV is safe and effective, all persons aged six months or above, except those with known contraindications, are recommended to receive SIV to protect themselves against SI and its complications, as well as related hospitalisations and deaths," Dr Wong said.

     The CHP has been holding meetings and briefings with relevant stakeholders including healthcare providers, community partners and the education sector to inform them of the arrangements and encourage their participation in the vaccination programmes. Publicity among the elderly, pupils and parents has also been stepped up to promote vaccination for their personal and their family's health.

     As for PV (annex 3), free or subsidised 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) will be given to eligible high-risk elderly persons in addition to the existing 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) to strengthen their immunity against pneumococcal infection starting from this year. The subsidy level of PCV13 and 23vPPV will be set at $730 and $190 per dose respectively.

     A dose of PCV13 will be provided to those eligible, followed by a dose of 23vPPV a year later. If eligible elderly persons have already received 23vPPV, a mop-up dose of PCV13 will be given a year later. Those without a high-risk condition will be given a dose of subsidised 23vPPV. Free (DH clinics and elderly homes) and subsidised (enrolled private doctors) mop-up PCV13 will tie in with SIV programmes while free mop-up vaccinations under the Hospital Authority will be launched in late March 2018.

     "While the risk of invasive pneumococcal disease is higher in the elderly, dual vaccinations of SIV and PV can lower the risk of hospitalisation and death. We appeal to eligible elderly persons to get vaccinated as soon as possible," Dr Wong said.

     The public may call the CHP's hotline (2125 2125) or visit the CHP's Vaccination Schemes page for more information.
Ends/Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:00
Today's Press Releases  


The Controller of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, Dr Wong Ka-hing (centre); the Head of the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP, Dr Janice Lo (left); and the Deputising Chief Manager (Infection, Emergency and Contingency) of the Hospital Authority, Dr Vivien Chuang (right), today (October 17) appeal to the public to participate in the seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccination programmes.

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