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About HKCFP > President’s Message

March 2021

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has been commenced by phases with effect from 26 February 2021, aiming at safeguarding public health and
allowing the gradual resumption of normal activities of our society 

(https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/).People belonging to the priority groups can book appointments to receive the vaccination which is currently made available at participating private clinics, designated General Outpatient Clinics (GOPCs) of the Hospital Authority, Community Vaccination Centres (CVCs) and designated clinics of the Department of Health (DH). Outreach vaccination service or vaccination by visiting medical officers provide inoculations to people in residential care homes and nursing homes. At the time of writing, the cumulative number of people who have received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Hong Kong is approaching 200,000. Thank you for your ongoing support in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic as well as helping to provide COVID-19 vaccinations in the community. Please keep up your excellent work!

As the gatekeepers and healthcare navigators for our patients, family doctors undoubtedly play an important role in the vaccination programme. As we are in the early stage of this new covid-19 vaccination programme against the novel virus, the society is naturally quite unfamiliar with the vaccines made available for emergency use. As far as I could recall and from experience sharing with other doctors in the community, almost all patients would ask us something about the vaccines and the vaccination programme during the consultation in the recent few weeks.

Despite the relatively generic information available for answering specific enquiries related to the dif ferent aspects of the covid-19 vaccinations, we continue to try our best to provide support and guidance to the patients in need, based on a personalised care approach. Family doctors are able to do that well because we know our patients with good rapport built up between us over the years, that in turn puts us in an advantageous position to involve the patients in the discussion in order to work out together which is the best way forward for them at the time. The DH has issued a set of “Interim Guidance Notes on Common Medical Diseases and COVID-19 Vaccination in Primary Care Settings”, which is a living document and will be updated from time to time (https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/pdf/Guidance_Notes.pdf). This additional information lends itself as a basis for discussion with people with chronic conditions when they contemplate covid-19 vaccinations.

The DH is monitoring the potential adverse events after COVID-19 vaccinations by enhancing the existing surveillance channels (https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202102/26/P2021022600625.htm). An established pharmacovigilance system to receive and assess reports of adverse events following immunisations (AEFIs) submitted by healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry is being used by DH to that effect. In collaboration with the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy of the University of Hong Kong, data of potential adverse events of authorised vaccines is collected from healthcare facilities, in particular rare or serious adverse events of special interest (AESI) (e.g. Guillain Barre syndrome, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) for causality assessments. In addition, the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following COVID-19 Immunisation has been formed to monitor the potential clinical events associated with COVID-19 vaccinations and provide expert opinions and advice on the safety monitoring of authorised vaccines. Hopefully, the picture would be clearer as we go along.

You may have noticed a recent message from our Chairman of Research Committee, Prof Samuel Wong, inviting your active participation in the HKCFP-HKU Primary Care Morbidity Survey in Hong Kong. This morbidity survey is commissioned by our College in collaboration with the University of Hong Kong, and will investigate the updated scope of patients’ problems encountered by primary care doctors in Hong Kong. While we recognise the ongoing pandemic is a consideration, the survey will commence this month and hopefully will provide us with useful information for future primary health care services and medical education planning. Therefore, please do help to participate in the morbidity survey. The HKCFP Research Fellowship 2021 is now open for application and the deadline is 31 March 2021. It has been established by our College to promote Family Medicine research conducted by our College members. In parallel, we have the HKCFP Awards for the Best Research and the Best Trainee Research open for submissions, and the deadlines are 31 March 2021 for the former and 29 April 2021 for the latter. For further information related to the aforementioned applications and submissions, please visit the relevant sections of the College website. 

Building on the success of the first ever digital Hong Kong Primary Care Conference (HKPCC) with over 700 participants last year, we are proud to announce that registration for the HKPCC 2021 is opening soon (www.hkpcc.org.hk). I look forward to seeing you in the Conference in the summer, either online or in person!

Please keep well and stay safe.

Dr. David V K CHAO
President


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