Minorities miss flu jabs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2011, 12:00am


Many children from Hong Kong's ethnic minorities are not part of the influenza vaccination programme.

The problem is that children's parents have not seen government health campaigns, the Hong Kong Medical Association says.

Alvin Chan Yee-shing, vice-chairman of the association, says doctors have seen few ethnic minorities having flu shots. His clinic has vaccinated only 40 to 50 ethnic minority children in the past year.

Chan says the government must do more to help. 'Many Nepalese and Pakistanis cannot read vaccination ads that are only in English and Chinese,' he says

'There is also no subsidy given to low-income families that cannot afford a flu jab, which costs HK$80.'

As ethnic minorities often live in closely-knit communities, the risk of a pandemic starting there is increased. Infections can be fatal.

Chan wants the government to work with social workers and local groups to raise awareness among ethnic minorities. Children aged two to six should be vaccinated against chicken-pox, pneumococcal infection, influenza, and hepatitis A.