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Flu Cases Surge as Center for Health Protection Urges Vaccination for High-Risk Individuals

HK flu cases has continued to increase over the past week
illustration: HKPinoyTV Images

The number of flu cases has been steadily rising in recent weeks, prompting the Center for Health Protection (CHP) to issue a call to action. In their latest report, the CHP emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, particularly for those at higher risk, such as the elderly and children.

According to the CHP, of the 8,671 respiratory samples received last week, 1,021, or 11.77 percent, tested positive for seasonal influenza. This figure exceeds the baseline of 9.21 percent, indicating a concerning increase in flu cases. Additionally, the flu admission rate in public hospitals rose to 0.68 cases per 10,000 people.

Dr. [Spokesperson’s Name], a spokesperson for the CHP, expressed concern over the rising numbers and urged the public to take immediate action. “The public, especially those with higher risks of influenza infection and its complications, should get seasonal influenza vaccination as soon as possible to lower the risks of serious illness and death,” Dr. [Spokesperson’s Name] stated. He further advised higher-risk individuals to wear masks when visiting public places and using public transportation.

While the flu cases continue to surge, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a significant number of deaths caused by Covid-19 complications. Nearly 10,000 deaths were reported last month alone, according to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Hospital admissions have also risen by 42 percent in nearly 50 countries, predominantly in Europe and the Americas, which have shared this concerning trend data.

Addressing the alarming figures, Dr. Ghebreyesus emphasized the need for governments to maintain surveillance and ensure access to treatments and vaccines. “Although 10,000 deaths a month is far less than the peak of the pandemic, this level of preventable deaths is not acceptable,” he stated during a press conference in Geneva.

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation, there have been developments in vaccine production. China’s Sinovac, the producer of the Coronavirus JN.1 subvariant vaccine, has announced its decision to discontinue production. Meanwhile, the Health Department has assured the public that there are sufficient vaccines available for the year.

Pandemic expert Dr. David Hui Shu-cheong weighed in on the situation, acknowledging that the Sinovac vaccine, based on the original virus strain, may be less effective against new variants. However, he suggested that it could still be used as a booster shot. Dr. Hui emphasized that, thanks to the high vaccination rate in Hong Kong, there is no need to reintroduce mandatory anti-pandemic measures. Nevertheless, he urged high-risk groups to receive vaccinations if their last dose was administered more than six months ago.

As flu cases continue to rise, it is crucial for individuals, especially those at higher risk, to heed the CHP’s advice and get vaccinated. Furthermore, adherence to personal protection measures such as wearing masks can help mitigate the spread of both influenza and Covid-19. With vigilance and preventive measures, it is hoped that the impact of these respiratory illnesses can be minimized in the months to come.