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Government raises influenza vaccination subsidies for children and elderly in 2014/15 (with photos)

     The Controller of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, Dr Leung Ting-hung, announced today (August 21) that the Government would increase subsidies for childhood and elderly influenza vaccination under the Vaccination Subsidy Schemes (VSS), and quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIVs) would be adopted in the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) in the upcoming 2014/15 season.

     "The subsidy per dose of seasonal influenza (SI) vaccine received from enrolled private doctors will be raised from $130 to $160 in both the Childhood Influenza Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (CIVSS) and the Elderly Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (EVSS) starting on October 6. We hope that this would encourage more eligible young children and elderly persons to come forward for vaccination early to gain protection before the arrival of the winter influenza season," Dr Leung said at a press conference today.

     The eligibility for vaccination will remain unchanged. Under the CIVSS, children aged between 6 months and less than 6 years (or 6 years old or above attending pre-primary institutions) will be entitled to subsidies for each dose of SI vaccine received from enrolled private doctors. A maximum of two doses per person will be subsidised for those who have never been vaccinated before.

     Under the EVSS, elderly people aged 65 or above will be entitled to subsidies for one dose of SI vaccine received from enrolled private doctors. Furthermore, the eligible elderly who have never received pneumococcal vaccination will be entitled to subsidies of $190 for each dose of pneumococcal vaccine.

     About 1 600 private doctors have so far joined the VSS, providing ample choices for the public. Enrolment is ongoing.

     "QIVs, to be supplied in the forthcoming season, are registered for use in Hong Kong, and will be introduced into the GVP starting from November 3 for eligible groups at public clinics and hospitals, as well as residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities for free. In addition, pneumococcal vaccination will be continued for the eligible elderly who have never received it before," Dr Leung said.

     Eligible groups, based on priority groups recommended by the CHP's Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases (SCVPD), will remain the same as those of last year (see attachment). Among them, pregnant women were recommended to have the highest priority for vaccination.

     Furthermore, both trivalent influenza vaccines and QIVs were recommended by the SCVPD. In accordance with the recommendation of the World Health Organization, vaccines to be used in the 2014/15 season for the northern hemisphere winter contain:

* A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
* A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus; and
* B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

     If QIV is being used, it shall contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

     "Influenza vaccines are safe and effective, and it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body. As influenza can cause serious illness in previously healthy persons, all persons aged 6 months or above, except those with known contraindications, should receive SI vaccine for personal protection," Dr Leung urged.

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

     In 2013/14, some 484 000 doses of SI vaccines were administered under the VSS and the GVP, about 242 000 doses each. Under the VSS, about 82 000 doses were given to children, while around 160 000 doses of SI vaccines and more than 22 000 doses of pneumococcal vaccines were delivered to the elderly.

     The public may call the CHP's hotline (2125 2125) for enquiries during office hours, or visit the CHP's Vaccination Schemes page ( or Influenza Page ( for more information. The SCVPD's recommendations have also been uploaded to its page (

Ends/Thursday, August 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:54


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