Press Release
15 September 2011

Press Conference on Influenza Vaccine

15 September 2011

Due to the widely reported adverse effects of flu vaccines, The Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA) carried out "Survey on Adverse Effects of Flu Vaccines" in April 2011 to collect members' views. Totally 1,154 replies were received. About 8% of the respondents encountered adverse effect after the vaccination, whereas 91% respondents did not have any adverse effects. The vaccination rate of influenza vaccine was low in the past two years.

The HSI vaccine had been widely administered around the world and the no. of reports on adverse effect was similar to that of the excellent safety profile of seasonal influenza vaccines which have been used for more than 60 years. In Hong Kong, the Expert Group of the Centre for Health concluded that in the past 2 vaccination programmes, the observed number of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) cases that occurred in vaccinated people lies within normal expectation of baseline incidence. Hence, it can be concluded that the HSI vaccine is safe and effective.

During the press conference this afternoon, Dr. CHOI Kin, President of HKMA and Dr. Alvin Y. S. CHAN, Vice-President of HKMA cum Chairman of the Task Force of Vaccination PPI, explained to the media about the seasonal influenza vaccine, its effectiveness on protecting one against influenza and affirmed its safety and effectiveness for the public. Free vaccinations were offered to the ethnic minorities' kindergarten kids and overweight persons with body mass index (BMI) over 30 in the press conference. Health professionals of the College of Nursing Hong Kong and The Association of Hong Kong Health Care Professionals helped the administration.

It is noted that the Centre for Health has new recommendation for the 2011/2012 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Programme, which recommends vaccinations for people aged 50 - 64 and the people with obesity (Body Mass Index 30 or above) to protect themselves against influenza and reduce the risk of complications. Although these groups of people are recommended but they are not included in the Government's Vaccination Subsidy Scheme, the HKMA recommends the public for the influenza vaccination at their earliest to well-prepare themselves for the coming flu season.

The HKMA is also concerned that there are many online group purchases of HPV vaccines arranged by various beauty parlors and health check centres recently. The prices are extremely low. We worried about the safety of our people and the source of such cheap vaccines. HKMA advises the public to beware of the online vaccine selling and make sure the vaccines are administered by healthcare professionals under registered doctors' supervision.

Notes to editors:
The Hong Kong Medical Association, founded in 1920, aims to bring together Hong Kong's government, institutional, university and private medical practitioners for an effective exchange of views and co-ordination of efforts. The foremost objective of the Association is to safeguard and promote public health. The Association speaks collectively for its members and aims to keep its members abreast of medical ethics, issues and advances around the world. In fulfilling these goals, the association hopes to better serve the people of Hong Kong.

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