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LCQ15: Influenza Vaccination Programme

    Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (April 30):


    Regarding the Childhood Immunisation Programme ("CIP"), will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that the authorities said earlier that it would study the possibility of inoculating all children under 12 with influenza vaccines, of the latest progress of the study, and whether the authorities will implement the recommendations of the study before the next influenza peak season arrives; and

(b) given that it has been reported that a university's study, which was commissioned by the authorities, on the cost-effectiveness of incorporating new or combination vaccines (including pneumococcal vaccines) into CIP had been completed, of the outcome of the study, and whether the authorities will consider making reference to the outcome of the study and update CIP in the near future?


Madam President,

(a) The Government's annual Influenza Vaccination Programme is developed in accordance with recommendations of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases (SCVPD) established under the Centre for Health Protection.  Each year, the SCVPD will recommend influenza vaccination for certain high risk groups, taking account of the latest scientific studies worldwide, recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the local situation.  The SCVPD will make recommendations on influenza vaccination for the flu seasons in 2008-09 shortly.  The Government will define the target groups to be covered under the Influenza Vaccination Programme for the coming year by this summer, having regard to the SCVPD's recommendations.

(b) The Department of Health (DH) has commissioned a local university to conduct a study on the cost-effectiveness of incorporating various new or combination vaccines (including the 7-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine (PCV-7), hepatitis A vaccine, chickenpox vaccine and Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine) into the Childhood Immunisation Programme (CIP).  The study is near completion and the report will be submitted soon.  The SCVPD will then study the findings and make recommendations to the DH.  In considering whether to include a new vaccine in the CIP, the DH needs to take into account a number of factors including epidemiology, disease burden, the safety, efficacy, side effects, cost-effectiveness and supply of the vaccine, the acceptance of injection of the vaccine among the public, the availability of other preventive measures, the administrative arrangements for vaccination, etc.

Ends/Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Issued at HKT 12:45


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