More than half of health workers surveyed in Hong Kong do not want to be vaccinated against the A(H1N1) virus because of fears of side effects and doubts about its effectiveness.
The study results, published in the British Medical Journal yesterday, echo the findings from a survey of 1,500 nurses in Britain where 30 percent said they would refuse new vaccines against the A(H1N1) swine flu for safety reasons.
“With the reported low level of willingness to accept pre-pandemic vaccination in this study, future work on intervention to increase vaccination uptake is warranted,” wrote the researchers, led by Paul Chan (陳基湘), a microbiology professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“A campaign to encourage vaccination among healthcare workers should be introduced,” they said.
The South China Morning Post, citing the local health department, reported on Aug. 17 that the number of swine flu cases had risen to 7,071.
The study consisted of two surveys involving 2,255 doctors, nurses and other health workers in public hospitals in Hong Kong.
The first, conducted between January and March when the WHO’s flu pandemic alert was at phase 3, showed just more than 28 percent of respondents said they would be willing to be vaccinated against the H5N1 bird flu virus.
The second, undertaken in May when the WHO raised its alert level to 5 because of swine flu, found only 47.9 percent of those surveyed would be vaccinated against A(H1N1).
“The most common reason for refusal was ‘worry about side effects’ and other reasons included ‘query on the efficacy of the vaccine,’ ‘not yet the right time to be vaccinated’ and ‘simply did not want the vaccine,’” the researchers wrote.
Those who said they would opt for swine flu vaccination tended to be young, had had the seasonal flu vaccine in 2008-2009 and feared they were vulnerable to A(H1N1).
Malik Peiris, a microbiology professor at the University of Hong Kong, who is not connected with the study, said the surveys gave an insight into public perception, but he warned such views could alter rapidly.
“In Hong Kong, if you have one death in a healthcare worker, you will have a change in perception,” he said.
“Protection of oneself is important and particularly when it comes to healthcare workers who are more [at risk] than the general public because they come into contact with sick people,” he said.
Robert Dingwall, director of the Institute for Science and Society at University of Nottingham, cautioned against taking the findings too seriously. He was not linked to the study.
“Real decisions will be made in a future context where health professionals have better information about the safety of the vaccine and opportunities to reflect on their responsibilities towards their patients and the functioning of major social institutions,” he said.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent