Date
16 January 2017
Starting April 1, all 31 maternal and child health centers in Hong Kong will limit vaccination to 120 non-resident children a month. Photo: HK government
Starting April 1, all 31 maternal and child health centers in Hong Kong will limit vaccination to 120 non-resident children a month. Photo: HK government

Govt sets vaccination limit for non-Hong Kong children

Hong Kong has set a monthly vaccination quota for non-local children.

All 31 maternal and child health centers in Hong Kong will limit such services to 120 non-resident children a month starting April 1, health officials said.

The new policy is aimed at ensuring that services to eligible people are not affected, according to Teresa Li, assistant director for family and elderly health services in the Health Department.

It comes after a health scandal in Shandong province last week triggered concern mainland parents might bring their children to Hong Kong for vaccination, Apple Daily reports.

A trial scheme begun last week has seen robust demand, filling an initial quota in 12 health centers. 

Meanwhile, some centers in Fan Ling and Kowloon City are booked until May.

Li said some centers have been receiving dozens of inquiries.

She said priority will be given to local children and the government may change the quota or cancel bookings by non-eligible users if necessary.

Non-local children can use non-emergency spare capacity.

There is no shortage of public vaccine but the Health Department will continue to monitor consumption to ensure adequate supply, assistant director Linda Woo said.

Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said the government should follow the example of Macau and stop providing health services to non-local children.

A quota can only help lower vaccine use but not keep bookings and phone inquiries from flooding in and needlessly putting health services personnel under pressure.

Parents can bypass the quota system by going to private clinics, he said.

Middlemen have been making inquiries about vaccine prices in private clinics on behalf of mainlanders, according to a pediatrician who runs her own practice in Tsim Sha Tsui.

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