Rebound flu cases: Hong Kong citizens asked to take flu jabs: Infectious disease expert 

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Close up of doctor's hands vaccinating child

A call on Hong Kong citizen was called on April 21 in prioritizing taking the flu jabs as a sharp rebound in flu cases this year.

According to infectious disease specialist Wilson Lam Wai-chun, in a radio program, he said among the 47 severe influenza cases between April 9 and April 15, 20 died from the infection while 17 patients died among 29 severe cases from April 16 and April 19.

Lam said most severe cases were the elderly and those who have died, in most cases, suffered from chronic illness or had been vaccinated with the flu vaccine.

“The complications from influenza could have triggered their underlying illness and increased their risk of dying from the infection,” he also said.

In addition, Lam pointed out that young children should also be vigilant against influenza since there were flu outbreaks at school but the number of severe and death cases was similar to previous seasons.

Professor Lau Yu-lung of the University of Hong Kong on April 20 said years of wearing face masks and hand washing to protect against Covid-19 had weakened people’s immunity, resulting in the elderly and the young being more vulnerable.

“Most are children and the children. The elderly have weaker immunity and organs, and they usually have chronic illnesses,” said Lau. He is also the chairperson of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases.

Children under five affected by the flu, could lead acute brain damage, Lau said.

In another news report on April 12, flu vaccine makers have set aside 200,000 doses for the city after private clinics raised the alarm that there were low stocks in the middle of flu season.

The Department of Health said on April 10 that there would be enough flu vaccines for the private sector.

The department also reported that it “has confirmed with various flu vaccine suppliers that there will be a sufficient amount of flu vaccines, which will expire in June or later, for private doctors to order.”