Skip to content

Influenza Vaccination

Do the Elderly Health Centres of the Department of Health provide seasonal influenza vaccination service?

Under the Government Vaccination Programme, Hong Kong residents aged 65 or above can receive free seasonal influenza vaccination at Elderly Health Centres. For details, please click here.

In response to the latest situation of coronavirus disease 2019, services under the Department of Health have been gradually adjusted. For the latest service arrangement of the Elderly Health Centres, please click here.

Why is it important to receive seasonal influenza vaccination?

Influenza occurs in Hong Kong throughout the year with seasonal peaks most commonly in January to March/April and July to August. According to Centre for Health Protection, elderly patients who got infected with flu have a higher chance of developing serious complications like bronchitis, pneumonia etc. Influenza vaccination is an effective means in preventing influenza and its complications, as well as reducing influenza related hospitalisation and death. Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases recommends elderly should have priority to receive Flu vaccination.

When to get vaccinated?

The most effective period to receive a Flu Vaccination is between October and November every year, or at least two weeks before the flu peak season arrives to ensure body to develop antibodies in the body. Thus, it can provide protection against influenza virus infection.

What are the possible side effects of the vaccine?

Flu vaccine is very safe and usually well tolerated apart from occasional soreness at the injection site. The recipient may experience fever, muscle and joint pains and tiredness beginning 6 to 12 hours after vaccination and lasting up to two days.
If fever or discomfort persists, please consult a doctor. Immediate severe allergic reactions like hives, swelling of the lips or tongue, and difficulties in breathing are rare and require emergency consultation. Influenza vaccination may be rarely followed by serious adverse events such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) (1 to 2 cases per million vaccines). However, influenza vaccination may not necessarily have causal relations with these adverse events.

Who should not receive flu vaccination?

Those who are allergic to any component of influenza vaccine or a previous dose of influenza vaccine are not suitable to receive the influenza vaccination.
Those with mild egg allergy who are considering an influenza vaccination can be received at the primary care setting. Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to egg should have seasonal influenza vaccine administered by healthcare professionals in medical facilities with capacity to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.
Influenza vaccine contains ovalbumin (a chicken protein), but the vaccine manufacturing process involves repeated purification and the ovalbumin content is very little. Even people who are allergic to eggs are generally safe to receive vaccination. Please consult a doctor for further information.
Those with bleeding disorders or on anticoagulants should consult their doctors for advice. If an individual suffers from fever on the day of vaccination, the vaccination should be deferred till recovery. 

Should I need to get vaccinated for influenza every year?

Yes. The fact that influenza viruses change from year to year implies that the immunity built up from having the influenza caused by one virus strain does not always provide protection when a new strain is circulating. Besides, immunity to the disease declines over time and may be too low to provide protection after one year. Therefore, one should get vaccinated for influenza every year. The influenza vaccine is prepared according to the prevalence of strains in the community each year, as recommended by the World Health Organization.

Can pneumococcal vaccine be given together with seasonal influenza vaccine?

Yes. Pneumococcal vaccines can be given with seasonal influenza vaccine at the same clinic visit, but should be administered with a different syringe and at a different injection site.

*For details on influenza vaccination, please refer Centre for Health Protection website and Government Vaccination Program 2020/21 in Elderly Health Centres webpage .