The complete guide to children’s vaccinations in Hong Kong
New parents often feel like they’ve been thrown into the deep end. From how to bathe your infant to what jabs they require as they grow, every day is a learning curve and one that can feel overwhelming – especially if you’re an expat living in Hong Kong. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with new regulations and variations in recommendations: Is vaccinations compulsory in the SAR? What vaccinations should your child get? And where should they go to get vaccinated? This Pacific Prime Hong Kong article answers all your questions.
Note: The COVID-19 vaccine program in Hong Kong has begun, however we won’t touch upon it in this article, as the focus is solely on children’s routine vaccinations.
Why should you vaccinate your child in Hong Kong
Technically speaking, you’re not legally required to get your child vaccinated in Hong Kong. That being said, many pre-schools and schools in the city-state won’t admit children who aren’t fully vaccinated, so it’s highly recommended that you get your child vaccinated. What’s more, there are a number of advantages of providing your child with essential vaccinations, such as preventing serious diseases.
This is despite the fact that there are growing anti-vaccination campaigns. One common misconception about vaccinations is that they can cause autism. This study was first published in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield linking MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine to causing intestinal damage to the nervous system. However, the paper was retracted in 2004 as all major health organizations rejected it. Wakefield himself was found guilty of misconduct.
Getting your child vaccinated
Before you get your child vaccinated, make sure you speak to their pediatrician about any concerns you have, or about what to expect.
Here’s a couple of basic pointers to take note of:
- Vaccine and immune system: Typically, vaccines don’t use the live infectious virus or bacteria. However, the body will recognize it, and your immune system remembers the virus or bacteria and learns how to fight it off. Some vaccines require booster shots in order to maintain this immunity.
- Vaccine side effects: Some mild side effects after getting a vaccine is completely normal. In fact, it’s actually a sign that the vaccination has worked. This includes high fever. However, if you’re concerned about the symptoms or if they persist, then it’s best to seek out medical advice.
- Vaccine records: Hong Kong has similar children’s vaccination schedules as other countries, such as the UK, Canada, US, and Australia. However, it’s still important to keep good immunization records – especially if you’re traveling and moving countries in the near future. You may even need them for school admissions.
What the recommended children’s vaccinations in Hong Kong are
The Family Health Services (FHS) has outlined childhood vaccinations in Hong Kong, which is what the public healthcare sector tends to follow. Other vaccinations not included in the program are available in private clinics. These include influenza vaccine, haemophilus influenza type B vaccine, meningococcal vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine, japanese encephalitis vaccine, rotavirus vaccine, and combined vaccines which contain a combination of various vaccine components.
FHS’s recommended childhood vaccinations are:
- Newborn: BCG vaccine and Hepatitis B vaccine (first dose)
- 1 month: Hepatitis B vaccine (second dose)
- 2 months: DTaP-IPV vaccine (first dose) and Pneumococcal vaccine (first dose)
- 4 months: DTaP-IPV vaccine (second dose) and Pneumococcal vaccine (second dose)
- 6 months: DTap-IPV vaccine (third dose) and Hepatitis B vaccine (third dose)
- 12 months: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine (first dose), Pneumococcal vaccine (booster dose), and Varicella vaccine (first dose)
- 18 months: DTaP-IPV Vaccine (booster dose), Measles, Mumps, Rubella & Varicella (MMRV) vaccine (second dose)*
- Primary 1: Measles, Mumps, Rubella & Varicella (MMRV) vaccine (second dose)* and DTaP-IPV Vaccine (booster dose)
- Primary 5: Human Papillomavirus vaccine (first dose)**
- Primary 6: dTap-IPV vaccine (booster dose) and Human Papillomavirus vaccine (second dose)**
Abbreviations and Notes:
DTaP-IPV Vaccine stands for Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis & Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine.
dTap-IPV Vaccine stands for Diphtheria (reduced dose), Tetanus, acellular Pertussis (reduced dose) & Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine.
* Children born on or after 01/07/2018 receive MMRV vaccine at 18 months old in Maternal and Child Health Centres. Children born between 01/01/2013 and 30/06/2018 receive MMRV vaccine in Primary 1.
**Starting from the 2019/20 school year, eligible female students will receive the first dose of 9-valent HPV vaccine at Primary 5. They will receive the second dose when they reach Primary 6 in the next school year.
Where to get vaccinations in Hong Kong
For government-recommended Immunizations (as per the aforementioned list), you can make an appointment at a Maternal and Child Health Center (MCHC) near you. Eligible children up to the age of 5 will be able to get vaccinated free of charge. Once your kids are school-going age, the Department of Health (DH) will also provide vaccinations through its school outreach programs.
The initial registration will require you to bring the following documents with you:
- Completed Child Health Service – first form
- Immunization record
- Birth certificate or travel document for foreign-born children
- Parent’s identity or travel documents (if the child’s documents aren’t available)
- Newborn hospital discharge record
- MCHC Antenatal Registration Card of the mother (if applicable)
For subsequent visits, bring the Child Health Record and discharge record of any other hospitalization or medical certificates of the child’s medical problems.
Children’s vaccination in the private sector
For other vaccinations and/or the vaccinations recommended by the government, there are also options to go to a private hospital and/or clinic. In fact, many of them even offer vaccination packages. For example, Gleneagles Hospital has a comprehensive childhood vaccination package that is priced at HKD $12,460. This is something to consider if your child has got a comprehensive insurance policy with outpatient coverage that will cover the cost of vaccinations.
Get in touch with Pacific Prime Hong Kong today!
Looking for health insurance for your child? Look no further than Pacific Prime Hong Kong. We’ve got high-trained advisors on hand that can help you understand your family’s health insurance needs, compare health plans, and recommend one that’s appropriate. Not pregnant yet? Perhaps you should consider maternity insurance. Whatever plan you opt for, we’ll take time to explain everything and clear your doubts, as well as provide unrivaled support throughout the insurance process – from insurer liaison to claims assistance and more!
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