SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Hong Kong to incorporate flu vaccine into national vaccination program

The Hong Kong government pledged on Thursday to boost subsidies towards flu vaccines for children and the elderly, and to incorporate influenza vaccines into the national vaccination program in the upcoming season.

According to Leung Ting-hung, the director of the Centre for Health Protection of the Hong Kong Department of Health, beginning Oct. 6, government subsidies for vaccines will go from $130 to $160 per dose for children and the elderly as part of an effort to encourage vaccination.

Children between the ages of six months and six years old are entitled to the subsidies for each dose received from an approved doctor. A maximum of two doses per child will be subsidized.

For the elderly, age 65 and above, the government will subsidize one dose of the seasonal flu vaccine, as well as the pneumococcal vaccine at $190 per dose.

So far, approximately 1,600 private doctors have opted to join the Vaccination Subsidy Schemes, and enrollment is ongoing. Beginning Nov. 3, the government will incorporate flu vaccines into the general vaccination program.

"We call on the healthcare sector and the community at large for joint efforts to improve the local influenza vaccination coverage," Leung said. "Members of the public can consult their family doctors on vaccination."