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2022/23 seasonal influenza vaccination programmes to start tomorrow
     With the launch of the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) and Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS) 2022/23 tomorrow (October 6), the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (October 5) appealed to members of the public to receive free seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) to better protect themselves in the coming winter influenza season.
     "The local seasonal influenza activity has been staying at low levels since February 2020, so the overall immunity against influenza in the community is relatively low at present. The Government strongly urges the public to complete the recommended dosage of COVID-19 vaccines and the latest seasonal influenza vaccine as early as possible so that they can obtain better protection in the event of co-infection with COVID-19 and influenza," a CHP spokesman said.
     SIV is one of the effective means to prevent seasonal influenza and its complications, as well as reduce influenza-related hospitalisation and death. Persons getting influenza and COVID-19 at the same time may be more seriously ill and have a higher death rate. It is therefore important to receive both SIV and COVID-19 vaccination. Given that influenza vaccines are safe and effective, all persons aged 6 months or above, except those with known contraindications, are recommended to receive SIV for personal protection.
     The spokesman stressed that the COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with, or separated from, SIV. If people wish to space out COVID-19 vaccine with nasal spray live attenuated vaccine, an interval of 14 days is sufficient.
     The GVP will in phases provide free SIV for Hong Kong residents in the eligible groups starting tomorrow. Details are provided at www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/202223_gvp_provisional_table_eng.pdf.

     Community-living elderly persons aged 65 or above can get free SIV at 14 designated Elderly Health Centres of the DH and general out-patient clinics of the Hospital Authority from October 24 onwards, while members of Elderly Health Centres of the DH can receive vaccination at their respective Elderly Health Centres from tomorrow onwards.
     In addition, the VSS will also be launched tomorrow. Eligible groups of Hong Kong residents (including persons aged 50 or above, pregnant women, children aged 6 months to less than 12 years (or primary school students), persons with intellectual disabilities, persons receiving Disability Allowance and recipients of the standard rate of "100% disabled" or "requiring constant attendance" under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme can receive subsidised influenza vaccination at clinics of private doctors enrolled in the scheme. Please visit the eHealth System (Subsidies) website (apps.hcv.gov.hk/Public/en/SPS/Search) for the list of doctors.
     Starting tomorrow, Hong Kong residents aged 50 or above may choose to receive both COVID-19 vaccination and free SIV at Community Vaccination Centres in various districts, while those aged 6 to 36 months and 3 years to under 12 years may choose to receive both COVID-19 vaccination and free SIV at designated Maternal and Child Health Centres and Student Health Service Centres respectively when they make reservation.
     Meanwhile, free/subsidised pneumococcal vaccination (PV) for eligible persons will continue to be provided under the GVP and the VSS to prevent pneumococcal infections. Those aged 65 or above who do not have high-risk conditions will be eligible for one dose of 23-valent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccination (23vPPV). Elderly persons with high-risk conditions who have not received PV before will be eligible for one dose of a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and one dose of 23vPPV one year later. COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with, or separated from, pneumococcal vaccines under informed consent.
     The public, especially those in eligible groups, may call the CHP's telephone line (2125 2125) for enquiries during office hours or visit the CHP's Vaccination Schemes page for more information on the above vaccination schemes.
Ends/Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:30
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