Parents in mainland China are increasingly seeking to bring their new-born children to Hong Kong for vaccine shots, raising the possibility of a new cross-border travel rush.
Mainlanders are flocking to Hong Kong for pneumococcal vaccinations for their kids as drugmaker Pfizer has stopped selling a vaccine in China earlier this year, Apple Daily reported.
Social media platforms in China are agog with discussions on the matter, with people outlining their plans and offering advice to others.
A father, who bears the surname Chu and lives in Shenzhen, said he had planned to take his son for a vaccine jab when the kid reaches one year in age. But he discovered to his horror a few months ago that the child contracted pneumonia.
Chu said he was unable to get a vaccine jab for his son in Shenzhen as a public hospital there told him that Prevnar 7, or PCV7, vaccine has been sold out.
The man then had to take his child to Hong Kong for a pneumococcal shot, spending around HK$2,700.
A mother from Heilongjiang has formed a group with other parents who were seeking to travel to Hong Kong to get their kids inoculated.
She complained that some people have to spend as much as 20,000 yuan for travel to get vaccine shots for kids costing the equivalent of 3,000 yuan.
People are rushing to Hong Kong for kids’ vaccinations not because it is a new craze, but because the parents have no choice, she said.
Pfizer was unable to renew a license for PCV7 in mainland China, so it had to halt sales there.
Meanwhile, another variant of the vaccine, Prevnar 13 or PCV13, is being used widely in over 120 countries.
But the vaccine needs to go through the third stage of clinical test before it can be introduced in China.
Chinese domestic drug companies have fallen short in developing their own vaccines.
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