Monday, October 5, 2015   

Flu protection gets a booster shot

Mary Ann Benitez

Friday, August 22, 2014


Flu vaccines will be subsidized HK$30 more up to HK$160, and four-strain vaccines offered for better protection ahead of the flu peak season this winter.

The Centre for Health Protection will buy 268,000 flu shots for a total of HK$13 million nearly twice as much as it spent last year at HK$6.7 million for 280,000 vaccines.

Just 240,000 doses were used in the 2013-14 program.

The subsidy for the flu shots by some 1,600 private doctors who are enrolled in the program will be raised from HK$130 to HK$160 in both the Childhood Influenza Vaccination Subsidy Scheme for those aged six months to five years old and the Elderly Vaccination Subsidy Scheme starting on October 6.

"We hope this will 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," said CHP controller Leung Ting-hung. The quadrivalent vaccine, to be supplied from November 3, will be introduced into the government vaccination program for eligible groups at public clinics and hospitals, as well as residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities for free.

The quadrivalent vaccine, which has been on the market since last year, will contain flu type A California H1N1, type A Texas H3N2, influenza B Massachusetts 2012, and B Brisbane 2008 virus.

The trivalent vaccine will contain just the two A strains and the B Massachusetts strain.

"The quadrivalent vaccine will provide additional protection of up to 7 percent," said Leung, adding that the trivalent vaccine offers 70 to 90 percent protection against the circulating flu strains.

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