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Scientific Committees under CHP update consensus interim recommendations on use of COVID-19 vaccine booster in 2023
     The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (JSC) under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, joined by the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel (EAP), convened a meeting today (March 29) to discuss and issue the updated consensus interim recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster in Hong Kong this year.

     Taking into account the latest recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) which was published yesterday (March 28), as well as the local situation of COVID-19, overseas practice and latest scientific evidence, the JSC-EAP updated its recommendations today.

     Taking reference from the latest WHO recommendation, the JSC-EAP recommended healthy children aged 6 months to 17 years without a past history of COVID-19 infection to receive a total of three doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The existing vaccination arrangements for immunocompetent children aged 5 to 11 years without a past history of COVID-19 infection who have previously received two doses of Comirnaty vaccine therefore have to be fine-tuned and they are now recommended to receive an additional dose at least five months after their previous vaccine dose.
     The JSC-EAP recommended another booster to be given at least 6 months after the last dose or COVID-19 infection (whichever is later) for the following high risk priority groups in 2023:
  1. older adults aged 50 or above including those living in residential care homes;
  2. persons aged 18 to 49 years with underlying comorbidities;
  3. persons with immunocompromising conditions aged six months and above;
  4. pregnant women; and
  5. healthcare workers.

     For children and adolescents aged six months to 17 years with comorbidities as well as healthy adults aged 18 to 49 years, an additional booster this year may be considered based on personal choice. 

     Regarding the choice of vaccine for the aforementioned booster for 2023, the JSC-EAP considered that it could be Comirnaty/CoronaVac ancestral strain vaccines or Comirnaty bivalent vaccine currently available in Hong Kong so long as their use are age-appropriate. The JSC-EAP also highlighted that the booster recommendation for 2023 should not be positioned as an annual or regular COVID-19 vaccine booster.

     â€‹Details of the interim recommendations will be available at the CHP's website at www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/24008.html.
Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Issued at HKT 22:48
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