Flu Vaccines in Hong Kong: Where to Go and How Much Does It Cost?
28th March 2023
In Hong Kong, seasonal influenza is usually more common from January to March/April and from July to August. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. Therefore it is best to get vaccinated two weeks before the start of the influenza season. It is recommended to get vaccinated every year, as well.
This year's seasonal influenza (a.k.a. flu) season is a bit different from the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing. This is an additional reason to get your flu shot. Indeed you will want to avoid being sick and vulnerable, and it's clearly best to avoid using healthcare capacity (in case of flu complications).
The good news is that the 2022/2023 new flu vaccine is now available in Hong Kong. Where can you get it? How much does it cost? Our Alea team has done all the research for you, and brings you this practical guide with all the information you need around Seasonal Influenza Vaccination (SIV).
What is the new flu vaccine?
According to the Centre for Health Protection, the new flu shots, a.k.a egg-based quadrivalent SIV and recombinant-based quadrivalent SIV are available for use in the 2022/2023 northern hemisphere influenza season. In accordance with the latest recommendations by the World Health Organization, the egg-based quadrivalent SIV is comprised of:
- A/Victoria/2570/2019(H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Darwin/9/2021(H3N2)-like virus
- B/Austria/1359417/2021(B/Victoria lineage)-like virus
- B/Phuket/3073/2013(B/Yamagata lineage-like virus
Whereas the recombinant based quadrivalent SIV is comprised of:
- A/Wisconsin/588/2019(H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Darwin/6/2021(H3N2)-like virus
- B/Austria/1359417/2021(B/Victoria lineage)-like virus
- B/Phuket/3073/2013(B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus
In short, the new flu shot is safe and remains essential to prevent seasonal flu. It is recommended to get vaccinated every year. Check with your doctor if you have any questions.
Why is getting a flu shot important during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Reason #1: The new flu vaccine is not meant to fight off COVID-19, but to protect you from getting the seasonal flu! The seasonal flu vaccination is indeed one of the most effective ways to prevent seasonal influenza and its complications, which can be serious. It is recommended that everyone (except babies below 6 months or people with contraindications) receives a flu shot annually.
We have seen a surge in influenza case number in the previous year. From January 5 to February 12, 2020, Hong Kong reported [182 adult cases of influenza-associated admissions to Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and 113 deaths](https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202002/13/P2020021300600.htm). There were 6 severe paediatric cases reported (no child death, luckily).
Reason #2: As a reminder, the most common flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain, fatigue and headache. The flu is highly contagious. It spreads via contact with infected people through droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking.
Since some flu symptoms may be similar to those of COVID-19, getting your flu shot can help you avoid a situation where you unnecessarily worry and think you have COVID-19, isolate and/or do a COVID-19 test without proper rationale.
Reason #3: Another important reason to get your flu vaccine is to run a lower risk of being hospitalized, at a time when we collectively need to put less burden on healthcare systems that are heavily pressured by the pandemic.
Important: Many doctors and health care professionals are urging people to get the flu vaccine as early as possible this year. Please do not wait for flu cases to reach their annual peak before you get vaccinated. The flu shot takes up to two weeks to reach peak effectiveness, so try to get it early.
Where to get a flu shot in HK and How much does it cost?
Free and subsidized vaccination
The Centre for Health Protection announced that the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS) and the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) 2022/23 will be launched on September 29 this year. The programs offer subsidized or free seasonal influenza vaccination to eligible persons, i.e. pregnant women, senior citizens aged above 65, healthcare workers, persons with chronic medical conditions, children aged 6 months to 12 years, etc.
For children, the Hong Kong government has implemented the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination School Outreach, which offers free vaccination in primary schools, and with subsidies in kindergartens, kindergarten-cum-child care centers and child care centers. Last year, over 1.3 million flu shots were given in HK as part of these schemes.
Flu shots in the public sector
The GVP (free vaccination) provides free flu shots and pneumococcal vaccination to eligible groups, which include pregnant women, residents of Residential Care Homes, senior citizens aged over 65, healthcare workers, persons with chronic medical conditions, children aged 6 months to 12 years, etc. For a complete list of eligibility, please check here.
You may refer to the list of General Outpatient Clinics under Hospital Authority on the Government Vaccination Programme website.
Flu shots in the private sector
The VSS (subsidized vaccination) provides subsidized flu shots and pneumococcal vaccination to eligible residents at participating private doctors and clinics. This year's subsidy is HK$260 per dose. For the complete list of private providers and costs relevant to the VSS, visit the directory here.
Check with your doctor for influenza vaccinations in the private sector. You can also receive your flu shot at the hospitals listed below. On Hong Kong Island, prices vary between HK$250 and $500, be sure to take into account that clinics may charge a consultation fee for first-time visits, these fees differ according to the doctor’s specialty and location.
To make it easier for you, here are some private providers of the new flu shot:
|Adventist HK||Stubbs Rd||$460 (vaccine + consultation)||$460 (vaccine + consultation)|
|Adventist TW||Tsuen Wan||$230 (service fee)||$230 (service fee)|
|Canossa (Caritas)||Mid Levels||$450 (vaccine + consultation)||$450 (vaccine + consultation)|
|Gleneagles||Wong Chuk Hang||$380 (vaccine + consultation)||$380 (vaccine + consultation)|
|Sanatorium||Happy Valley||$490 (vaccine + consultation)||$490 (vaccine + consultation)|
| | Contact information | Address |
| --- | ----------- | ----------- | ----------- |
| Central Health at Discovery Bay | Call 2987 7575
Email firstname.lastname@example.org |Room 109A & Room 106A, 1/F, Discovery Bay Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island, New Territories | | Dr. Vio & Partner| Call 2890 2222 (Central) or 2369 3329 (Tsim Sha Tsui) | Central: Room 1006, 10/F, Worldwide House, Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Tsim Sha Tsui: 11/F, Kai Seng Commercial Centre, 6 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui| |OT&P Healthcare | Call 2155 9055 | Various locations - click here to check | | Quality Healthcare | Call 8301 8301
Click here to purchase with Early Bird Privilege | Various locations - click here to check | | **Virtus Medical** | Call 8102 2022 | 1) Central: 5/F, Virtus Medical Tower, 122 Queen's Road Central, Central;
2) Tsim Sha Tsui: 1/F, Shop A, Hong Kong Pacific Centre, 28 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon;
3) Tsim Sha Tsui: 11/F, H Zentre, 15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
*All amounts were last updated on November 1, 2022. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.
Are flu vaccines covered by health insurance?
Whether you have coverage through work/group health insurance or on an individual basis, you may be covered for influenza vaccination. Check your outpatient coverage and look for the details of your vaccination or wellbeing benefits, if any. It is important to note, however, that vaccination reimbursements are usually capped to an annual limit and that there may be a waiting period to complete before you can start claiming for this particular benefit.
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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.