H5N1 virus

Plea to get the flu jab

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 October, 2005, 12:00am

Hong Kong Medical Association officials yesterday made a public show of getting their flu jabs in an effort to drum up more interest among residents to get the vaccine ahead of the winter flu peak season.

Choi Kin, association president, said: 'What we are trying to do during the inter-pandemic period - between the big epidemics - is to try ... to get citizens healthy so that in case the big one comes along we have everything in place.'

Just 14.9 per cent of Hong Kong's population received the immunisation last year, a decline from the 19 per cent during the Sars outbreak in 2003, Dr Choi said.

Thomas Tsang Ho-fai, consultant of the Centre for Health Protection, said the more people who got the jab, the more acceptable it would be to others should the pandemic occur.

'Acceptance is important because if scientists develop a successful bird flu vaccine this will increase public acceptance of the bird flu vaccine,' Dr Tsang said.

Other Hong Kong Medical Association officials to get the vaccination included Tse Hung-hing, who is a member of the association's council.