The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health announced on 16 August that it had followed up a public complaint and conducted an inspection at a private doctor's clinic in To Kwa Wan. During the inspection, records were found of expired FluQuadri Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV), with expiry dates on 5 June (Paediatric for six to 35 months of age) and 22 June (for three years of age and older), being administered.

Initial enquiries revealed that 10 eligible children and 10 eligible elderly persons had been administered with expired seasonal influenza vaccines (SIVs) in the clinic since 6 June under the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS). Investigations revealed that there might be other clients vaccinated with those SIVs, not under the VSS, in the clinic as well.

CHP has urged clients administered with SIVs on or after 6 June in the clinic of Dr Ho-ming Ma, the private doctor, to contact Ma as soon as possible—for assessment and appropriate follow-up—as expired vaccines might have been given.

"According to the vaccine manufacturer concerned, expired vaccines with declined efficacy will not be effective in protecting recipients from infections. So far, we have not received any cases of adverse events associated with vaccination of FluQuadri QIV 2016/17," assured a spokesman for the CHP.

As some SIVs expired on 31 May, the CHP particularly, drew the attention of enrolled doctors in early May to the expiry date—further reminding them again to check the expiry date of SIVs before vaccination. The CHP has also issued an additional reminder to this incident.

"Investigations are ongoing and we will continue to closely monitor the incident," added the spokesman.

Ma explained to HK01 yesterday he had purchased a total of 500 flu shots since last November. He admitted that the vaccines had expired on May 2017; but he had neglected the expiry date due to the sudden surge in clients in June, due to the summer influenza peak season. As he recalled, approximately 20 clients had been administered with these expired vaccines.

Ma emphasised the onus is on him and being busy is not an excuse for the negligence. Until 7.00 pm in the evening, Ma claimed he had contacted 10 of the affected clients and personally apologised to each of them. 

In view of the incident, Ma has been delisted from the VSS and follow-up actions will be taken for the claims concerned. MIMS

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