Two mln HK people to receive new flu shot for free 2009-06-09 19:50:37   Print

    HONG KONG, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said Tuesday the government will provide free influenza A/H1N1 vaccines for about two million of the population.

    Speaking at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Chow said that the executive council has decided to initiate immediately the process for procurement of A/H1N1 flu vaccines for four target groups in the city recommended by the Scientific Committees of the Center for Health Protection of Hong Kong.

    The four target groups includes: healthcare workers in both the public and private sectors; children aged six months or above and below six years old; elderly persons aged 65 and above; and persons at higher risk of death and complications from the new strain flu due to pre-existing medical conditions.

    Since each person requires two doses, the government will order four million doses of vaccines for the above groups which involved about two million people. While an extra one million doses will be ordered for those who wanted to pay for the vaccination.

    The total cost for the vaccination program, which is entirely voluntary, is estimated to be about 700 million HK dollars (about 90.4 million U.S. dollars), according to Chow.

    He said that the government will continue to gather facts from various vaccine manufacturers on the quality, availability and price of the vaccines, to prepare tender for the eventual procurement of the vaccines, and to seek funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council later this month.

    Besides, Chow told that the executive council also decided to give those elderly aged 65 and above pneumococcal and seasonal influenza vaccines for free.

    The decision was made because the two vaccines play an important role alongside A/H1N1 flu vaccine in mitigating the impact of an influenza epidemic in Hong Kong by reducing hospitalizations and deaths among elderly people when infected, he said.

Special Report:  World Tackles A/H1N1 Flu 

Editor: Xiong tong
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