'Flu could be resurgent this winter' - RTHK
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'Flu could be resurgent this winter'

2022-10-06 HKT 09:11
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  • 'Flu could be resurgent this winter'
The operator of a number of Covid vaccination centres has warned Hong Kong could see a flu surge this winter, and urged people to get their flu jabs to mitigate the effects of the virus.

Dr Samuel Kwok, from Virtus Medical Group, told RTHK on Thursday that mask-wearing during the pandemic meant exposure to the flu virus had been reduced over the last couple of years.

However, he believes that as people resume travel to places in the world where masking isn't required it's likely flu will return to Hong Kong.

The government's flu vaccination programme starts on Thursday. Those aged under 12, or 50 and over, are eligible for free jabs – which are available at community vaccination centres at the same time as the Covid jab.

"As we enter the winter season, it's expected there will be a flu wave," said Kwok. "That's why the government is trying to promote flu jabs starting from today.

"During the pandemic, use of masks has prevented a lot of communicable infections, so we've seen flu being modulated. People have not been exposed to the flu virus, so if it comes back here there could be a surge."

Kwok added that reactions to flu jabs due to allergies were very uncommon and that it was safe to receive flu and Covid vaccinations at the same time.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive John Lee has also urged the public to get vaccinated against influenza as he and some principal officials received their flu jabs.

He said getting the flu shots is particularly important this year.

"The Covid-19 epidemic and a series of anti-epidemic measures implemented in the past two years or so have led to relatively low levels of local seasonal influenza activity and overall immunity against influenza in the community," he said.

"A person may suffer from serious illnesses after getting infected with influenza. Co-infection with influenza and Covid-19 may result in more serious complications and even death."
Last updated: 2022-10-06 HKT 15:09