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Thursday, November 19, 2020, 18:02
Health chief: HK to get 85,000 flu vaccines by late November
By Wang Zhan
Thursday, November 19, 2020, 18:02 By Wang Zhan

HONG KONG – Around 85,000 doses of influenza vaccines will arrive in Hong Kong in mid- to late-November for supply to local private healthcare sector, the city’s health chief said on Wednesday.

Legislative Council member Joseph Lee Kwok-lun had raised the concerns of the serious conditions arising from dual infections with influenza and COVID-19 and the tight supply of influenza vaccines as more people had received influence vaccination earlier than last year. Lee also raised the concern about the safety of the vaccines after recent cases in South Korea and Taiwan in which some residents had adverse reactions or even died soon after receiving influenza vaccination.

In a written reply answering Lee's query on Wednesday, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said the Department of Health had been closely in touch with the vaccine suppliers regarding the supply of vaccines and will continue to closely liaise with the suppliers and make further adjustments when necessary.

Around 167,900 children aged between six months and under 12 years old have received seasonal influenza vaccination under various government vaccination programs as of Nov 8, Sophia Chan said

Chan also said there had been no evidence on the safety concerns of relevant influenza vaccines, but added the Department of Health had confirmed with the vaccine supplier that the vaccine supplied to Hong Kong was of a different batch than those used in South Korea and Taiwan.

READ MORE: HK private sector to get 100,000 doses of flu vaccine from govt

“In relation to the earlier reports from certain overseas places of adverse reactions and deaths following influenza vaccination, DH has liaised with the World Health Organization, the health authorities concerned at relevant places and the vaccine supplier, and noted that relevant health authorities considered that there was no evidence on safety concerns of relevant influenza vaccines. Health authorities at Korea and Taiwan had also announced investigation results of relevant incidents,” she said.

“The DH also confirmed with the vaccine supplier that the influenza vaccine supplied to Hong Kong was of a different batch,” Chan added.

In a written reply to another query at the LegCo, Chan said as of Nov 8, 179 primary schools and 439 kindergartens or child care centers have provided seasonal influenza vaccination at school under the 2020/21 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination (SIV) School Outreach (Free of Charge). More than 65,300 primary school students and 44,000 children in kindergartens of child care centers have received the vaccine.

Separately, as of Nov 8, 49 primary schools and 40 kindergartens or child care centers have provided outreach vaccinations at school under the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme, and more than 22,200 primary school students and 7,400 children in kindergartens and child care centers have received the vaccination, Chan said in the reply.

ALSO READ: CE urges public to get flu shots early, 2 new virus cases reported

In total, about 167,900 children aged between six months and under 12 years old have received seasonal influenza vaccination under various government vaccination programs, representing an uptake rate of 25.2 percent as of Nov 8, Chan said. The number of children vaccinated is comparable to that of the corresponding period last year, Chan added.

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