Sept 3, 2023
The herpes zoster virus, more commonly known as "shingles," inflicts distress upon patients and can potentially lead to additional complications, placing a considerable burden on the healthcare system of Hong Kong. Despite the availability of a shingles vaccine, the high cost has resulted in limited uptake among the general population. Seeking to shed light on the awareness and willingness of residents to receive the shingles vaccine, the DAB Eastern District Branch, in collaboration with the office of legislator Edward Leung Hei and Silveriders Limited, conducted an online survey from August 22nd to September 1st. A total of 291 residents in Hong Kong Island East participated in this endeavor, and the key findings are as follows:
23.7% of respondents reported having experienced shingles.
Among respondents aged 50 or above, 26.2% indicated a history of shingles.
14.5% of respondents reported having experienced shingles on two or more occasions.
68% of respondents stated that they had friends or family members who had experienced shingles.
82.5% of respondents desired to receive the shingles vaccine, while an overwhelming 93.1% believed that the government should provide subsidies for shingles vaccination.
Drawing from these significant findings, the DAB puts forth the following recommendations:
Bolster the existing Vaccination Subsidy Scheme, commencing with the provision of free vaccinations for individuals aged 65 and above, as well as those with compromised immune systems. This initiative can then be gradually expanded to include individuals aged 50 and above, ensuring broader coverage and accessibility.
Regularly release data pertaining to confirmed shingles cases, thereby fortifying public education efforts and raising awareness about the prevalence and impact of shingles.
Leverage available resources, such as district health centers and online platforms offered by the Centre for Health Protection, to enhance educational campaigns and promotional endeavors.
Encompass a wider range of vaccines within the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme, aiming to provide comprehensive protection for the elderly population and mitigate the long-term burden on public healthcare systems.
DAB LegCo member Edward Leung (9665 0660)