Press Release
4 October 2012

Influenza Vaccination

4 October 2012

All doctors, guests and media friends attended the press conference observed one minute silence before the function began as a mark of respect for the victims of the Lamma Island ferry tragedy.

The peak season of influenza is approaching. As an endeavor to prevent outbreak and to minimize serious complications of influenza, the Government has in recent years encouraged and subsidized people at high infection risk to receive influenza vaccine. The uptake rate has nonetheless remained suboptimal at about 7%, with 0.5 million of the population vaccinated. This fell short of the 30% threshold required for herd immunity.

The Hong Kong Medical Association advises the Government to subsidize all those in the high risk groups for vaccination (including children 6m to 6 yr, people >50yr of age, people who are immunocompromised, who have respiratory illness, who are obese with BMI>30 or pregnant, health care workers and pig farmers). The Hospital Authority and the Department of Health should organise vaccination teams to actively go to the workplaces to vaccinate their staff, so that busy and exhausted health care workers can get vaccinated without extra arrangements. The Government should have in place a policy on preventive health, and aim at a vaccination uptake rate of 30%, so that Hong Kong people can attain the required herd immunity. The Government has an obligation to ensure enough supply of influenza vaccine for all who want to be vaccinated in Hong Kong.

Free vaccinations were offered to children from ethnic minorities¡¦ kindergarten and frontline doctors of public hospitals during the press conference. Health professionals of The Association of Hong Kong Health Care Professionals helped the administration.

The HKMA recommends all people in the high risk groups, whether or not they benefit from the Government's Vaccination Subsidy Scheme to receive influenza vaccination as soon as possible in order to get themselves well-prepared for the coming flu season.

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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