Vaccinating your child will prevent them from getting sick from specific childhood related viruses and bacteria, most of which can cause serious illness or death. The people around your child will also benefit by being less exposed to these contagious diseases.

Q: What should I be concerned about getting my baby vaccinated?

A:Side effects after immunisations are uncommon and the majority of children who receive vaccines have no side effects. For those who do, the side effects, like fever, rash, or redness and swelling where the vaccine was given – are usually minor and generally subside after a day or two.

For vaccinations containing live but attenuated viral particles such as chickenpox or MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), side effects can appear 10-14 days after the immunisation consisting of rash or fever and generally subside after 2 to 3 days.

Very rarely, a child will have a serious reaction to a vaccine, like a severe allergic reaction. The occurrence is very low and as a precaution, you will always be asked to wait 15 minutes after receiving a vaccine before leaving the clinic. Vaccinations, including live vaccinations, cannot transmit the disease against which you are being immunised.

Q:The HKSAR government offers free vaccinations forchildren. What should I consider when choosing a public or private vaccination plan?

A: Private practitioners adapt 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. Therefore, fewer injections are required overall with a more comprehensive protection.

At Matilda, we prescribe “6 in 1” vaccines which incorporate Hepatitis B, DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis) IPV (Polio) and Hib (Haemophilus Influenza type B) vaccines into one. In other words, only 1 injection is required instead of 3 separate injections. It helps minimise the distress and discomfort for the child.

In addition, the optional vaccines are standard in some countries, so for those who travel widely or are planning to live elsewhere, these can be easily added into the child
vaccination schedule, such as Rotavirus, Hib, Hepatitis A, Meningococcal ACYW conjugate, Meningococcal group B, and Japanese Encephalitis vaccines.

Q: What are the differences between vaccination schedules of the Hong Kong Family Health Services of the Department of Health and other countries?

A: The child immunisation schedule recommended by the Hong Kong Family Health Services is similar to European and other Western vaccination schedules. However, due to the high local prevalence of tuberculosis and Hepatitis B, B.C.G.and Hepatitis B vaccines are specifically incorporated in the routine immunisations.

Other vaccines such as Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) and meningococcal vaccines are not usually given in theHong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme due to a lower risk of such diseases in Hong Kong.

Q: What should I do in order to comply with the recommendations of another country when choosing a baby vaccination scheme?

A: It is 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 Hong Kong routine childhood immunisation schemes. However, these optional vaccines are available at private clinics. You can discuss with your doctor for additional protection tailored to other countries.