14 September 2005
The Government's Influenza Vaccination Programme for 2005/06 will start on November 7 this year.
This was jointly announced by the Consultant of Centre for Health Protection (CHP), Department of Health (DH), Dr Thomas Tsang, and Deputy Director (Professional Services) of the Hospital Authority (HA), Dr Liu Shao-Haei, at a press conference today (September 14).
The Government Programme was developed in accordance with the recommendations of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases (SCVPD) established under the CHP. It provides free influenza vaccinations to some of the target groups recommended by SCVPD. They include
Dr Tsang said this year's Government programme has expanded its scope compared with last year. Additional target groups covered include health care workers working in elderly homes and institutions for the disabled, as well as some CSSA recipients who fall under the recommended target groups for vaccination.
"We expect that the Government Influenza Vaccination Program this year would cover approximately 250,000 people."
Dr Tsang said the GIVP will start on November 7 and last until December 31, 2005. Some mop-up vaccinations are also expected in early 2006.
The private medical sector has expressed strong support for the influenza vaccination initiative and is geared up to provide influenza vaccinations to a major portion of the community. The private sector has a major and active role to play in providing influenza vaccinations to members of the community, since the majority of out-patient doctor consultations occur in the private sector. During last year's influenza season, private doctors vaccinated several hundreds of thousands of people against influenza.
Dr Tsang said, "Target groups recommended for influenza vaccination will find a good choice of service providers."
In a collaborative endeavor to increase vaccine coverage, the CHP will send letters to all doctors in Hong Kong, providing them also with posters, adult immunization cards and other materials to promote influenza vaccination.
Recommended vaccines to be used in the 2005/2006 season (northern hemisphere winter) contain â€“
A/New Caledonia/20/99(H1N1)-like virus
The vaccination should preferably be given at least two weeks before the arrival of the influenza season.
Last but not least, the CHP is coordinating a large health promotion and publicity campaign to increase awareness against influenza and its prevention. The public may call upon the DH health education (pre-recorded) hotline at 2833 0111 for vaccination information. In addition, telephone hotlines 2285 8159 and 2285 8379 are set up to answer public enquiries on the Vaccination Programme during office hours. The HA's hotline 2300 6555 will also deal with public enquiries on the Programme.
To prevent influenza and other respiratory tract infections, the public are advised to adopt a healthy lifestyle and adhere to good personal and environmental hygiene:
The Scientific Committee's recommendations can be accessed at CHP's website: www.chp.gov.hk