Childhood Influenza Vaccination Subsidy Scheme in Hong Kong
There is this craze going on right now because of the heightened flu risk and cases in this country. Wait, it actually started as a swine flu risk in Japan a few weeks ago and now it’s almost viral around this part of the world. I wonder why March is considered flu season, maybe I should google it.
Regardless, I have not yet vaccinated my kids. To be truthful, I’ve heard if 2 sides of this vaccination story. The arguments are as follows:
1. Why vaccinate? The children should be able to build an immunity and it’s just the flu.
2. You should vaccinate. This is the swine flu we’re talking about – it’s not just any flu.
In the end, I’ve opted for giving them the flu shot. There are actually 2 types of vaccinations available on the market in HK. One is the “shot”- which of course is a painful jab to some part of their little bodies and contains the dead or killed virus. There is also a nasal spray, which contains the live (but weakened) virus, but is only available for children 2+ years in age. I’ve called various doctors for the nasal version and ALL of them are sold out and will not be getting new batches this year. So poor my children, because I was so late in confirming the vaccination, they are now subjected to being jabbed. HEH, oh well *shrug*, you can’t say I didn’t try.
The other bonus is that the government offers an $80 HKD subsidy on children from 6 months to 6 years, or who are still in kindergarten. Sweet. And it’s easy as logging into a site, here, to download the form and then bring to a registered medical practitioner (ie: private doctor). I guess the difficult part is getting your 5 year old to sit still and observe while the doctor or nurse sticks a 1-inch needle into their thigh. For me, the kids go back to school next week and they’ve gotten the shot last year, so what’s more prevention? I tell myself that my western thinking must adapt. HK is after all, dirtier, more crowded, and prone to both bird and pig like viruses. Plus, the entire family is constantly washing their hands. It’s almost the first thing we all do once we get home or have a meal. But it’s all cool, they are good habits to practice and it’s better to safe than sorry right?