Prevent Communicable Diseases - Get Your Child Vaccinated
What is immunisation?
Immunisation is the introduction of vaccines into our bodies so that antibodies can be produced for immunity against certain infectious diseases. Vaccines can be given by mouth or by injection.
Why do children need immunisation?
The reason for immunisation is to decrease the chance of children from getting infectious diseases. Moreover, if the majority of people are immunised and become immune, this would reduce the risk of infectious diseases spreading in the community, thereby protecting the health of individuals and the community.
When should children be immunised?
Immunisation should be started from birth, with booster doses administered for certain vaccines later on to maintain immunity.
Why do children need boosters?
Scientific evidence indicates that the immunity produced by some vaccines decreases with time. Hence, booster doses should be given at intervals to enhance the immunity.
What vaccines should children receive and where can they get immunised?
The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases (SCVPD) under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) makes recommendations regarding the Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme (HKCIP) based on local epidemiology and scientific evidence. Immunisations provided under the public health care sector follow the schedule of the HKCIP. Infants and children should receive different types of vaccines and boosters to protect them from tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, pneumococcal infection, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella and cervical cancer^. As different countries and areas have their own childhood immunisation programme based on their epidemiology, DH recommends children to receive immunisation in their usual place of residence for comprehensive protection against childhood infectious diseases.
Parents can bring their children from birth to five years of age to any Maternal and Child Health Centres (MCHCs) of DH for immunisation. Inoculators of the DH will visit primary schools to provide immunisation service to school children. Parents may also bring their children to private doctors for immunisation.
Please visit www.fhs.gov.hk for further details regarding the services offered by MCHCs and the booking arrangement etc.
Besides the vaccines included in the HKCIP, should children receive other vaccines?
Besides those vaccines included in the HKCIP, some private doctors and hospitals may provide other vaccines such as Influenza vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, meningococcal vaccine, rotavirus vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine and Japanese encephalitis vaccine etc. Parents may seek advice from private doctors and vaccines outside HKCIP maybe offered to children based on individual health needs.
Can children with cough or running nose be immunised?
In general, if the child has the above symptoms but is otherwise eating, playing and sleeping well with normal bowel habit, then the child can be immunised. If parents are worried, immunisation may be postponed for a few days in order to have enough time to observe the child's condition. If the child has fever, parents must bring the child to the General Out-patient Clinic or private practitioner's clinic first and let the child recover before receiving immunisation.
Under what circumstances that immunisation may need to be withheld?
The majority of children are able to receive immunisation. Under certain circumstances, immunisation may need to be withheld or special arrangement is needed. If your child has any of the following condition(s), you should seek medical advice before getting him/her immunised.
- Any immunodeficiency conditions:
- Congenital immunodeficiency
- Leukaemia, cancer
- Chronic disease with long-term treatment, e.g. radiotherapy, chemotherapy or taking corticosteroids.
- History of serious reaction to a previous vaccine.
- History of severe hypersensitivity to any antibiotic or substance.
- Other conditions diagnosed by doctors to be unsuitable for immunisation.
If the scheduled date of immunisation is passed or a vaccine is missed, what should parents do?
Parents should book an appointment at the registered MCHC or private practitioner's clinic to receive the missed vaccine as soon as possible.
What are the reactions after immunisation? How should parents manage these reactions?
Reactions after immunisation are usually mild. These include low-grade fever, fussiness and slight swelling or soreness around the injection site. Parents may give the child paracetamol (do not use Aspirin) according to the instructions given by the health care professional for fever or pain relief. Parents may also apply a cool towel onto the sore area to relieve discomfort. If the child continues to have fussiness lasting more than 24 hours, develops a fever that is 40 °C (104°F) or higher, or has increasing swelling and pain over the injection site after 24 hours, medical attention should be sought.
What are the severe adverse reactions? What should parents do?
Severe adverse reactions after immunisation are very rare. Signs and symptoms include paleness, rapid pulse, difficult breathing, skin rash and collapse occurring within a few minutes to a few hours after vaccination.
Parents should bring the child with the above symptoms to the Accident and Emergency Department immediately for treatment, and inform the doctor about the type of vaccine received and the date of receiving the vaccine.
What should the parents do with the immunisation records after the child has completed all the childhood immunisations?
The immunisation record is a very important document and parents should store it safely.
Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme
|Newborn||Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Vaccine
Hepatitis B Vaccine - First Dose
|1 month||Hepatitis B Vaccine - Second Dose|
|2 months||DTaP-IPV Vaccine - First Dose
Pneumococcal Vaccine - First Dose
|4 months||DTaP-IPV Vaccine - Second Dose
Pneumococcal Vaccine - Second Dose
|6 months||DTaP-IPV Vaccine - Third Dose
Hepatitis B Vaccine - Third Dose
|12 months||Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) Vaccine – First Dose
Pneumococcal Vaccine - Booster Dose
Varicella Vaccine - First Dose
DTaP-IPV Vaccine - Booster Dose
|Primary 1||Measles, Mumps, Rubella & Varicella (MMRV) Vaccine - Second Dose*
DTaP-IPV Vaccine - Booster Dose
|Primary 5||Human Papillomavirus Vaccine - First Dose^|
|Primary 6||dTap-IPV Vaccine - Booster Dose
Human Papillomavirus Vaccine - Second Dose^
DTaP- IPV Vaccine: Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis & Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine
dTap-IPV Vaccine: Diphtheria (reduced dose), Tetanus, acellular Pertussis (reduced dose) & Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine
* Children born on or after 1.7.2018 receive MMRV vaccine at 18 months old in Maternal and Child Health Centres. Children born between 1.1.2013 and 30.6.2018 receive MMRV vaccine in Primary 1.
^ Starting from the 2019/20 school year, eligible female students receive the first dose of 9-valent HPV vaccine in Primary 5 and the second dose when they reach Primary 6 in the next school year.
Remember to arrange follow up of your child's immunisations if you are leaving Hong Kong.
Please call 24-hour Information Hotline 2112 9900 to access the addresses and telephone numbers of MCHCs.
For more health information, please call our Health Education Infoline (Cantonese, English and Putonghua) at 2833 0111 or visit the website of the Family Health Service, Department of Health at http://www.fhs.gov.hk.