SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Launch of seasonal influenza vaccine program announced in Southern Hemisphere

Launch of seasonal influenza vaccine program in Southern Hemisphere | Courtesy of medlines.org
A recent announcement from Hong Kong's Controller of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health Dr. Leung Ting-hung states that the 2015 Southern Hemisphere Seasonal Influenza Vaccination (SH SIV) Programme recently began.

The purpose of SH SIV is to offer free vaccines to people living in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). These homes need to be enrolled in the Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs) of the Residential Care Home Vaccination Programme (RVP) to receive the immunizations.

Beginning on May 20, people ages 85 or older who live in the Hospital Authority’s (HA) community setting and the DH’s designated Elderly Health Centres (EHCs) will also receive vaccinations. This is part of the preexisting Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) and not the SH SIV program.

Residential care homes have already started to collect consent forms from the residents about the new vaccination program. The health professionals then use this information to order the correct amounts of the vaccine. Health professionals have created 100,000 doses of the influenza vaccine for the SH SIV program.

“The SH SIV contains the influenza A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus strain, which was predominant in the winter influenza season that ended in late April,” Leung said. “The SH SIV Programme may protect the elderly from the possible summer influenza season and prevent outbreaks in RCHEs.”

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