University of Hong Kong expert Ivan Hung on Sunday expressed concern that serious influenza outbreaks may pose a bigger threat to the SAR this winter than Covid-19.
He noted that the local vaccination rate for Covid is high and a high proportion of the population has already been infected – but with a low jab rate for the flu, he said there could be a major surge in influenza cases as travel restrictions ease.
"Overall, the community [influenza] antibodies are very low, and of course with the relaxation of travel restrictions and social distancing measures, there will be a very high risk, especially for young children who have not encountered the influenza virus before," Hung told a press conference promoting nasal flu vaccines.
Professor Hung called on the elderly, young children and medical personnel to get flu jabs.
He added that Hongkongers should wear masks every winter to protect against the flu and upper respiratory tract infections.
The professor – who is also one of the government's Covid advisors – stressed that he thinks the local mask mandate for Covid should be lifted when the World Health Organization announces that the pandemic is over.
He thinks the mandate and vaccine pass will probably stay on until next summer, and the relaxation for mask wearing will probably be applied to outdoor activities first.