Probe in Hong Kong over expired flu vaccines for patients

Kowloon doctor is referred to Medical Council after children, elderly receive jabs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 11:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 11:38pm

An investigation has been launched by the Department of Health after a private doctor in Hong Kong gave expired flu vaccines to patients.

The case of Dr Ma Ho-ming, who gave out of date FluQuadri, a quadrivalent flu vaccine, to at least 20 patients in Kowloon is being referred to the Medical Council on the grounds of possible professional misconduct.

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Staff from the Centre for Health Protection inspected Ma’s To Kwa Wan Road clinic after a parent complained the vaccine given to their three-year-old son on August 11 had expired almost two months ago.

Inoculation records showed that one type of vaccine for ­children aged six months to 35 months expired on June 5 while another for those aged three and above should have been used by June 22.

Expired vaccines with declined efficacy will not be effective in protecting recipients from infections
Centre for Health Protection spokesman

Ten patients, aged two to 11, and 10 aged from 65 to 85 had ­received vaccines under the ­government subsidy scheme on or after June 24.

But the centre said more patients may have received expired vaccines outside the scheme.

“According to the vaccine manufacturer concerned, expired vaccines with declined efficacy will not be effective in protecting recipients from infections,” a ­centre spokesman said, adding that no adverse effects had been ­reported yet.

Those who received flu ­vaccines at the clinic concerned on or after June 6 have been urged to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Ma has been removed from the government subsidy scheme, under which he claimed a total of 273 doses of flu vaccine in 2016/2017.

Initial investigations show the expired vaccines were not used intentionally and the case did not involve fraud.