Flu Shots in Hong Kong: Where to Go and How Much Does It Cost?

This year’s seasonal influenza (a.k.a. flu) season is a bit different with 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 2020/2021 new flu vaccine is now available in Hong Kong. Where can you get it? How much does it cost? Our AD MediLink team has done all the research for you, and brings you this practical guide with all the information you need.

Warning: The number of residents seeking flu shots in Hong Kong has tripled this year, leading to the shortages at many private practices, according to Dr Henry Yeung Chiu-fat, president of the city’s Doctors Union: “Members reported at least 30,000 more doses would be needed to meet demand”. A limited number of doses from three major overseas suppliers should arrive in November at the earliest. Some private clinics are already out of flu vaccines. Please contact them first before booking.

 

What is the new flu vaccine?

According to the Centre for Health Protection, the new flu shot a.k.a. egg-based quadrivalent SIV is available to be used for the 2020/2021 northern hemisphere influenza season. In accordance with the latest recommendations by the World Health Organization, the egg-based quadrivalent SIV is comprised of:

– A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
– A/Hong Kong/2671/2019(H3N2)-like virus
– B/Washington/02/2019-like virus
– B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus

In short, the new flu shot is safe and remains essential to prevent from getting the 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.

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. There were six 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 for fewer people to run the risk of being hospitalised, 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.

 

Need Health Insurance?

 

Where to get a flu shot in HK and how much does it cost?

 

Flu shots in the public sector

On August 24, 2020, the Centre for Health Protection announced that the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS) and the Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) 2020/21 will be launched on October 8 and 22 respectively. These programs offer subsidised or free seasonal influenza vaccination to eligible persons. For a list of eligible persons, please check here.

 

The VSS (subsidised vaccination) – starting October 8 – provides subsidised flu shots and pneumococcal vaccination to eligible residents with the participation of private doctors. Good news: This year’s subsidy is increased from HKD210 to HKD240 per dose. For a list of private providers and costs relevant to the VSS, visit the directory here.

 

The GVP (free vaccination) – starting October 22 – provides free flu shots and pneumococcal vaccination to eligible groups.

 

For children, the Hong Kong government has implemented the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination School Outreach, which allows free vaccination in primary schools, and with subsidies in kindergartens, kindergarten-cum-child care centres and child care centres. So far, around 470 primary schools and 760 kindergartens, kindergarten-cum-child care centres and child care centres have signed up. The outreach service for primary schools will start on October 22 while the service for kindergartens, kindergarten-cum-child care centres and child care centres will begin on October 8.

 

For further details, please visit this website. Last year, over 1.3 million flu shots were given in HK as part of these schemes.

 

Flu shots in the private sector

To make it easier for you, here is a list of private clinics that provide the new flu shot:

Price

Contact Information

Address

Anyone above 3 years old: HKD150 + HKD310 (nurse's fee & vaccination)

3/F, Baskerville House, 13 Duddell Street, Central

Dr. Vio & Partner

HKD350

Call 2890 2222 (Central) or 2369 3329 (Tsim Sha Tsui)

Room 1006, 10/F, Worldwide House, Des Voeux Road Central, Central

11/F, Kai Seng Commercial Centre, 6 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

HKD388 (new OT&P patients aged 12 or below may need extra HKD1,050 for doctor's consultation)

HKD510 for Flumist (intranasal flu vaccine)

* Current limited supply and priority will be given to existing patients (including family members) and high-risk individuals

Various locations - click here to check

Early Bird Privilege:

Aged above 12: HKD255

Aged 12 or below: HKD355

Call 8301 8301

Click here to purchase with Early Bird Privilege

Various locations - click here to check

New and existing patients aged above 12 with no symptoms and no GP consultation required: HKD400 (vaccination)

Children aged 12 or below - new patients: HKD900 + HKD400 (GP consultation & vaccination); existing patients: HKD350 + HKD400 (GP consultation & vaccination)

People who are pregnant or breastfeeding - new patients: HKD900 + HKD400 (GP consultation & vaccination); existing patients: HKD350 + HKD400 (GP consultation & vaccination)

9/F, No.1 Duddell Street, Central

HKD380

5/F, Virtus Medical Tower, 122 Queen's Road Central, Central

1/F, Shop A, Hong Kong Pacific Centre, 28 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

11/F, H Zentre, 15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

* All amounts were last updated on 16 September, 2020. 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 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 well-being 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.

Looking for health insurance? For expert advice and a free quote, contact AD MediLink now at hello@admedilink.hk or +852 2606 2668. One of our advisors will answer all your questions.

This article was independently written by AD MediLink 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.