DH reiterates that influenza vaccination is safe and effective

     In response to media enquiries regarding remarks about the effectiveness of influenza vaccines that have appeared on the Internet, a spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) today (February 8) reiterated that seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) is a safe and effective way of preventing influenza and its complications.
     The spokesman said, "Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent seasonal influenza and its complications, as well as reduce influenza-associated hospitalisation and death. This season's vaccine strains closely match the influenza viruses that are circulating this winter influenza season in Hong Kong.
     "Influenza vaccine has been in use for 70 years. The vaccine has undergone repeated testing and quality assessment to ensure that it is safe and reliable. In Hong Kong, all currently used influenza vaccines are inactivated vaccines so there is no live virus in the vaccine. People will not be infected with influenza through vaccination and it is also impossible to transmit any mutated virus. Influenza vaccine contains ovalbumin (a chicken protein), but the vaccine manufacturing process involves repeated purification and the ovalbumin content is very little. Even people who are allergic to eggs are generally safe to receive vaccination.
     "In addition, the influenza vaccines currently supplied for use in Hong Kong, including the Government Vaccination Programme and in private medical sectors, are all in single dose pre-filled syringes which do not contain a mercuric compound (e.g. thiomersal) as preservative, and there is also no aluminium content."
     For more information on frequently asked questions on SIV, the public may refer to the website of the Centre of Health Protection of the DH at www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/49312.html.

Ends/Thursday, February 8, 2018
Issued at HKT 15:51