Four medical associations on Monday urged people to get vaccinated against pneumococcus, warning that illnesses caused by the bacterium can be serious in young children and the elderly.
The Hong Kong Geriatrics Society, Hong Kong Society for Infectious Diseases, Hong Kong Paediatric Society and Hong Kong Society for Paediatric Immunology Allergy and Infectious Diseases said a survey they carried out last month suggests most people underestimate the risks involved with pneumococcal infections.
Almost 80 percent of 3,600 people polled said they had not been jabbed, the groups said.
Pneumococcus causes mild illnesses such as sinus or middle ear infections, but can also cause more serious conditions including pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis.
The Centre for Health Protection recommends vaccinations for children under two and adults over 65, as well as people of all ages if they are in a high-risk group, such as those with chronic diseases.
Infectious diseases expert Ivan Hung said as society returns to normal after Covid-19, viruses that cause respiratory infections will resurface.
“Because of the relaxation of the infection control measures, taking off masks and more travelling, it’s important not only to take the flu jab but also to update your Covid vaccination. But more importantly, of course, is the pneumococcal vaccine,” he said.
Hung urged the government to look at providing the public with free pneumococcal jabs.