Vaccinations can help prevent serious diseases in kids, from polio to measles. Here, the Matilda team answers key questions about vaccinations in Hong Kong – including for expats concerned about differing vaccination schedules between HK and their home countries, and information on the Hong Kong immunisation schedule.
What should I weigh up when choosing a public or private vaccination plan?
Private practitioners adopt a more flexible immunisation regime with a wider choice of vaccines available to add on. The actual timing of the vaccinations in both sectors is similar, but more vaccines are combined when offered by private practitioners. That means fewer injections required overall with a more comprehensive protection.
At Matilda, we prescribe “6 in 1” vaccines, which incorporate the following:
- Hepatitis B
- DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis)
- IPV (Polio)
- Hib (Haemophilus Influenza type B)
In other words, only one injection is required instead of three, helping minimise the distress and discomfort for the child. In addition, some optional vaccines are standard in some countries, so for those who travel widely or are planning to live elsewhere, they can easily be added into the vaccination schedule – examples include Rotavirus, Hib, Hepatitis A, Meningococcal ACYW conjugate, Meningococcal group B, and Japanese Encephalitis vaccines.
What are the differences between vaccination schedules of the Department of Health in Hong Kong and in other countries?
The recommended Hong Kong immunisation schedule for children is similar to European and other Western vaccination schedules. However, due to the high local prevalence of tuberculosis and Hepatitis B, both B.C.G. and Hepatitis B vaccines are specifically incorporated in routine immunisations here.
Other vaccines such as Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib), meningococcal vaccines and newly emerging vaccines such as prevenar that protects against pneumococcal disease are not usually given in the Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme due to a lower risk of such diseases.
What should I do to ensure I comply with the recommendations of another country when choosing a baby vaccination scheme?
It’s best to check with the corresponding national immunisation advisory in the country you plan to reside in or travel to as some of the recommended vaccines might not be included in the routine Hong Kong immunisation schedule fr children. At Matilda we can provide optional vaccinations and doctors can advise on additional protection tailored to other countries and new emerging vaccinations.
Is there anything I should be concerned about when getting my baby vaccinated?
Side effects from vaccines are uncommon and the majority of children don’t experience any. For those who do, it’s usually minor – like a brief fever, rash or swelling at the injection site. For vaccinations containing live but attenuated viral particles such as chickenpox or MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), side effects can appear 10 to 14 days after the immunisation, but they generally subside in a few days. Severe reactions are very rare but as a precautionary measure you will be asked to wait 15 minutes before leaving the clinic. Vaccinations, including live vaccinations, cannot transmit the disease. The government offers free vaccinations for children.
Vaccination packages at Matilda
Matilda’s Outpatient Department offers baby vaccinations aligning with your country’s recommendations. Packages are available for ages two to 18 months, allowing you to customise with specific vaccines. Scan the QR code below to learn more.
Matilda International Hospital is at 41 Mount Kellett Road, The Peak.
Matilda has a 24-hour on-site Paediatrician – find out more at matilda.org.
Outpatient Department: 2849 1500 | email@example.com
Looking for more information about life with a baby, from Hong Kong immunisation schedules to advice from a midwife? You can find more articles like this in our Mums & Babies section.
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2023 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.