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Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Winter flu outbreak could be severe with diminishing herd immunity against the virus

Winter flu outbreak could be severe with diminishing herd immunity against the virus

Dr. Marco Ho Hok-kung, deputy chief medical executive at Virtus Medical, said on Wednesday that a winter flu outbreak could be serious as Hong Kong sees a diminishing herd immunity against the virus.

His comments came as Hong Kong is set to ease some of its Covid rules from October 6, including raising the maximum number of restaurant diners from eight to twelve persons per table, while banquets will be allowed to have up to 240 people attending, compared with 120 now.

Ho said with citizens heading out for meals more frequently and removing their masks more often, there is a chance of a seasonal influenza outbreak.

He noted that citizens have had little chance of exposing themselves to the influenza viruses in recent years, a result attributed to citizens’ strong anti-epidemic awareness due to Covid.

With herd immunity against the influenza viruses diminishing, it could be serious should there be an outbreak of the winter flu, he said, adding that citizens should get their flu jabs as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, starting Thursday, the Hospital Authority will provide free seasonal influenza vaccination to Hong Kong residents of eligible groups in phases.

The flu jabs will first be provided to patients seeking services at Hospital Authority clinics, including pediatric patients at high risk, elderly aged 65 or above, and persons with physical or intellectual disabilities.

As for other community-living elderly persons aged 65 or above, they can get the free flu jabs at 14 designated Elderly Health Centres of the Department of Health and general out-patient clinics of the Hospital Authority from October 24 onwards.

Click here for details.

Meanwhile, starting tomorrow, Hong Kong residents aged 50 or above may choose to receive both Covid-19 vaccination and free seasonal influenza vaccination at Community Vaccination Centres in various districts, while those aged 6 to 36 months and 3 years to under 12 years may choose to receive both Covid-19 vaccination and free seasonal influenza vaccination at designated Maternal and Child Health Centres and Student Health Service Centres respectively when they make a reservation.

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