Hong Kong debuts new pneomococcal vaccine

A new pneumococcal vaccine will replace the existing one used in Hong Kong government’s Childhood Immunization Program, officials have announced.

Officials told that they will begin using the new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Synflorix, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, in October.

The new vaccine will be provided free of charge to eligible children at Department of Health Maternal and Child Health Centers.

According to health officials, the immunization schedule for the new vaccine will follow that of the old vaccine, PCV7, with three primary doses at two, four and six months of age. These vaccines are followed up with one booster dose to be given after one year of age, according to

A Department of Health spokesman, who was not named in the report, told that the new vaccine is just as effective and safe as the older vaccine. The spokesman did not, however, specify why the change in vaccines was made.

“Children who have been receiving PCV7 can switch directly to PCV10,” the spokesman told “Parents may also choose to take their children to receive the pneumococcal vaccination from private doctors at their own cost.”

Pneumococcus bacterium can cause invasive pneumococcal diseases in young children, including chest and blood stream infections and meningitis.

The spokesman also noted that no pneumococcal vaccine covers all known types of pneumococci. As a result, he said, people should observe personal and environmental hygiene to prevent infection. Most pneumococcal infections, he added, can be treated effectively with antibiotics.