How to Prepare For Flu Season in Hong Kong

It is finally cooler in Hong Kong and it is the time of the year to get your flu shot. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu in Hong Kong, reducing doctor visits, school sick days, work sick days and preventing hospitalizations. People who are most vulnerable to flu complications are very young children, pregnant women, people with long-term health conditions and the elderly. It is common to get a seasonal flu shot in Hong Kong, especially since the dense population can facilitate the transmission of the flu. Here are some key facts about influenza in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Vaccination Subsidy Scheme.

Flu season in Hong Kong: January to March and July to August

According to the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection, seasonal influenza commonly occurs between January to March and July to August. The Centre for Health Protection advises getting the flu shot in the fall every year. Why fall? Because your body needs at least two weeks to produce the antibodies necessary to ward off the virus and in the meantime you should take necessary personal and environmental hygiene measures to avoid contracting or spreading the flu.

Flu vaccine in Hong Kong in the Public sector: The Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS)

While Hong Kong’s public health sector does not provide free influenza vaccination to the general population, it has implemented a subsidy scheme to encourage most vulnerable people to get vaccinated by private providers.

Who is eligible?

  • Children 6 months to 12 years of age or primary school children
  • Pregnant women
  • Elderly over 65 years of age
  • Intellectually disabled individuals
  • Physically disabled people (who receive disability allowance)
Subsidy amount? $190 per dose of influenza vaccine.

Extra costs? Sometimes. Some doctors charge up to $450 after deducting the $190 subsidy.

Where? At private doctors enrolled in VSS. Look for the nearest doctor and their costs here.

Flu vaccine in Hong Kong in the Private sector: providers and costs

Who is eligible? Everyone.

Subsidy amount? None unless you are eligible for VSS and seek services from a doctor enrolled in the VSS.

Costs? On HK Island, prices vary between $250 and $450 for the vaccine and the clinic may charge a medical consultation fee in addition to the vaccine especially if it is your first visit. First time consultation fees vary tremendously according to the doctor’s specialty and location. Ask at your clinic or doctor of your choice for more information.