In Hong Kong, the flu is most common from January to March and from July to August. It is recommended by the Department of Health that flu vaccines should be received every year in autumn. Getting a flu vaccine early can be beneficial as the body needs at least two weeks to produce the antibodies necessary to protect against the virus.
Fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain, fatigue and headache are common symptoms you may get when infected with influenza. The flu is highly contagious and can be spread via contact with infected people through droplets transferred via coughing, sneezing, and talking.
Not sure where to get flu shots in Hong Kong and how much does it cost? Here is Healthy Matters’ 2021/2022 guide to flu vaccination, covering both public and private sectors.
Why should you get a flu shot during COVID-19?
While mask-wearing is effective in preventing the spread of the flu, the Centre for Health Protection points out that influenza poses higher risks of severe cases, or even death, to those who get COVID-19. With influenza vaccination, you are less likely to be hospitalized because of the flu. Influenza vaccination is highly effective in protecting yourself, and those around you against the seasonal flu.
Public sector flu vaccine options in Hong Kong
The Department of Health has introduced new subsidy schemes and free vaccine services for the high-risk communities: pregnant women, children between 6 months to 12 years old, elderly persons living in residential care homes, citizens aged over 65 or with chronic medical conditions, etc.
Free flu vaccination - $0
The government provides free seasonal influenza vaccinations to eligible Hong Kong residents under the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) 2021/22 most recently launched on October 12, 2021. Vaccination is free for underprivileged residents who are most at risk. See full eligibility here.
The government will also provide an immunisation programme for children. The "Childhood Immunisation Programme" provides free immunization to children and the 2021/22 School Outreach Vaccination Pilot Programme encapsulates outreach vaccination services under the existing VSS to provide free seasonal influenza vaccination to children at schools.
Vaccination Office (Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health)
Hotline: 2125 2125
E-mail: [email protected]
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5:30pm. No service on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday.
Hospital Authority (Government Vaccination Programme)
Hotline: 2300 6555
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8:45am-5:45pm. No service on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday.
Website: www.ha.org.hk, for info on general outpatient practitioners clinics (GOPCs) offering the vaccine refer here and here, check the website for specialised outpatient practitioner clinics (SOCPs) here.
Family Health Service (Department of Health)
Hotline: 2112 9900 to access the addresses and telephone numbers of Maternal and Child Health Centres who can provide vaccinations for children.
Private sector flu vaccine options in Hong Kong
Subsidized flu vaccination - with $240 subsidy
The Vaccination Subsidy Scheme is available to eligible persons through participating private doctors. Eligible groups include: Pregnant women, persons aged 50 or above, children, persons with intellectual disability, recipients of disability allowance and recipients of Standard Rate of “100% Disabled” or “Requiring Constant Attendance” under CSSA. For a list of private providers and costs, visit the directory here. The subsidy has been increased to $240 per dose since 2020.
Check with your general practitioner, paediatrician or gynaecologist-obstetrician for flu vaccinations in the private sector. Prices in the private sector can vary between $250 and $500 for the vaccine and the clinic may charge a doctor consultation fee in addition to the vaccine dose, especially for first-time visitors. First-time consultation fees vary tremendously according to the doctor’s specialty and location.
Here are some hospital options:
|Adventist HK||Stubbs Rd||$460 (vaccine + consult)||$460 (vaccine + consult)|
|Adventist TW||Tsuen Wan||$250 (service fee)||$250 (service fee)|
|Canossa (Caritas)||Mid Levels||$450 (vaccine + consult)||$440 (vaccine + consult)|
|Gleneagles||Wong Chuk Hang||$380 (vaccine + consult)||$380 (vaccine + consult)|
|Sanatorium||Happy Valley||$440 (vaccine + consult)||$440 (vaccine + consult)|
|Union||Shatin||$380 (vaccine + consult)||$380 (vaccine + consultant)|
Here are some clinic options:
Where: Check locations here.
How much: $388 for the vaccine (no consultations for adults); for children a doctor consultation fee of HK$1,500 is required.
Quality HealthCare Medical Services Limited (price varies per location)
Where: Check locations here.
How much (for adults): $255 for the vaccine (HSBC staff have 15% off).
How much (for children): $355 under the subsidy scheme + $80
* All amounts are in HKD and were last updated in October 2021. 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.
Afraid of needles? Check out the FluMist nasal spray.
The FluMist vaccine is also available in Hong Kong. This live influenza vaccine is an intranasal spray and is given as a nose spray to both nostrils. It is only approved for children 2 and above, and those who do not have current or a history of wheezing or suppressed immune system. Before receiving the nasal spray, you should discuss the side effects and efficacy with your doctor.
One of the clinics that provide FluMist is Children 818
For existing patients: $750 for the vaccine and no consultation fee is required
Is the flu vaccine covered by insurance?
Whether you have coverage through work 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.
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This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.