Disease Control and Prevention
78. The Government has been paying close attention to the spread of human swine influenza to monitor any possible re-assortment of the virus or unusual patterns. At this juncture, I will continue to chair the Emergency Response Level Steering Committee to lead the departments concerned in taking response measures.
79. Through a series of effective measures, we held back the spread of the virus in the early stage of its outbreak. The closure of schools before the summer vacation slowed transmission among students. While human swine influenza has now become the prevalent strain of influenza in Hong Kong, the symptoms of those infected are largely mild. However, as the winter influenza peak is approaching, we must remain vigilant and not let down our guard.
80. The Government's strategy on the prevention and control of common seasonal influenza and human swine influenza has three objectives: first, safeguarding public health; second, reducing the number of infected cases and slowing the spread of the disease; and, third, minimising the development of complications in those infected. To these ends, we will arrange seasonal influenza vaccinations for high-risk groups starting from this month. We have already started to provide pneumococcal vaccinations for the elderly and children to minimise the development of complications from influenza. We will also provide human swine influenza vaccinations for vulnerable groups later this year.