BACKGROUND: Hong Kong's seasonal influenza schedule follows the World Health Organization's northern hemisphere vaccine composition recommendations but with year-round influenza activity there is the potential to implement routine age- and gestation-based schedules utilising both northern and southern hemisphere vaccines for children aged 6 months to 2 years and for pregnant women. This study assessed the potential feasibility of such schedules.
METHODS: A literature review was conducted and in-depth interviews with vaccine experts, policy makers and nurses were undertaken.
RESULTS: The following schedules were proposed and assessed for perceived feasibility: 1) a four-dose schedule in the first two years of life requiring an additional unscheduled clinic visit at 7 months; 2) a three-dose schedule excluding the 4-week booster after the first dose; 3) a two-dose schedule for pregnant women involving a dose at the booking visit and a dose with pertussis vaccine at 7 months gestation; and 4) a one-dose schedule at 7 months gestation.
CONCLUSIONS: Age- and gestation-based routine influenza vaccination schedules are theoretically feasible for both young children and pregnant women. The three-dose paediatric and one-dose obstetric schedules were assessed in interviews with vaccine experts, policy makers and nurses to be most acceptable. Further clinical studies are required to determine whether such schedules are non-inferior to current seasonal-based schedules in terms of vaccine effectiveness and vaccine uptake.
- Vaccination schedule
- Young children
- High income countries
- Antenatal care
- Hong Kong