Around 100,000 doses of anti-flu vaccines, including those against the deadly H3N2 influenza strain, will be shipped to Hong Kong towards the end of April or early May, according to the Department of Health.
Nine more people died of flu in the territory on Thursday, taking the death toll to 370 since the beginning of the year. The total number of severe cases of flu, including deaths, has reached 496, including 18 children, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Dr. Gabriel Choi, former chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said around 10 percent of the elderly patients in private hospitals have inquired about the availability of the new vaccines.
Choi said it is still uncertain if private doctors will be allocated the new batch of vaccines.
As recommended by the Centre for Health Protection, patients will be classified in different priorities, meaning those who are in more urgent need of vaccination will be given priority.
The Hong Kong Doctors Union and Hong Kong Pharmacists Union said elderly people and patients suffering from immune deficiency are more prone to complications, especially pneumonia, and therefore should be given priority to flu and pneumococcal vaccines.
The government has launched a subsidy scheme for citizens aged 65 or above for the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine against pneumonia.
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