Central Health Updates 7 January 2022
Covid-19 booster shots and primary vaccine series
Our previous update in November 2021 urged anyone who was eligible to complete the two dose schedule to become fully vaccinated because “if an outbreak occurs in Hong Kong, or there is an urgent need to travel, you may not have time to become fully protected”. Given the current community transmission, this is now urgent. The Omicron variant is more infectious, possibly milder but still poses a significant threat of severe disease. We have already seen community transmission and many experts are suggesting a significant outbreak is possible. We should all manage this risk.
Our current advice is:
1- Everyone eligible should first complete the two-dose schedule to become fully vaccinated.
2- If you have already received your 2-dose Covid-19 vaccination at least 180 days ago and are over 18 years old, you are now strongly recommended to receive your 3rd dose or booster. This advice includes those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive. It also includes non-Hong Kong residents.
Data shows that even the best performing mRNA shots waned in efficacy after six months, and that a 2-dose series is less effective against the Omicron variant. But the news is much more positive with respect to the prevention of severe disease due to Omicron infection after three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The data also suggests that those who had 2 doses of Sinovac should take Pfizer-BioNTech as a booster.
If you require further discussion about your vaccination choices, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your doctor.
Changes to our Covid-19 safety measures
In order to protect our patients, Central Health will be making some changes to our Covid-19 policy from 10th January 2021. We are very aware that for many of our patients (especially those with young children), the risk of a compulsory quarantine order at Penny’s Bay is causing more anxiety than the threat of a Covid-19 infection.
With this in mind, we ask that anyone who has travelled outside of Hong Kong in the past 14 days not to attend the clinic in person. This includes those given shortened forms of quarantine such as pilots and travelers under the Return2hk travel scheme. Remote consultations done online or via the telephone remain available to all our patients and can be booked on the same day. For any patients who need to be seen urgently during their 14 days we can arrange an appropriate assessment in a hospital setting. Medication delivery or pick up by a friend can also be arranged.
Exceptions can usually be made for a pregnant household member (who needs to be seen) and has had a negative Covid-19 PCR test within 48 hours of their appointment. For details, pregnant patients should email our midwives at email@example.com or speak to them before making an appointment.
For any further details or clarifications, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or speak with one of our clinical staff at Duddell Street clinic 2824 0822 and Southside clinic 2592 9000.
Discovery Bay Clinic
For our clinic in Discovery Bay, patients who have travelled within 14 days and their families may still be able to be seen in person. Please phone 2987 7575 and speak to the clinical staff if you are in any doubt about whether you can safely attend the clinic.
Fee increase for psychologists, speech and occupational therapists
After several years of static pricing some of our psychologists, speech and occupational therapists will be increasing their fees broadly in line with inflation. The increases will be introduced after Chinese New Year. For details of new fees please contact email@example.com
And finally for some good news!
For the first time, we can make your most important new year health resolution come true. For most of us, achieving a healthy weight is the most significant contribution we can make to living longer healthier lives.
Finally, the billions of dollars that have been poured into research to address the epidemic of type 2 diabetes has resulted in the development of drugs that have been shown to be so safe and effective that they are now licensed to treat anyone who is at risk of developing diabetes or other health consequences because of their weight.
Our patients are generally both smart and well-motivated and most have tried the “move more and eat less”. We know for many patients this just doesn’t work and the diet/weight loss/regain-weight-plus-some cycle has caused to despair and give up. If that is the case for you and you would like to get more help, we have put together a plan that will help you succeed.
We now have an increasing number of drugs that have been used to successfully reverse diabetes that we are now able to use to prevent diabetes by achieving weight loss for patients before they develop health consequences.
The first of these drugs, semaglutide is a once weekly medication that has recently been approved for weight loss and it works; in the trials, more than half of patients lost 15% of their initial body weight and a third lost at least 20%, making it the most successful medical weight loss interventions we have at our disposal aside from surgery.
We expect there will be an explosion in the availability of drugs like semaglutide as it is a game changing development in weight management. We have been monitoring the development of these drugs and we now think it is safe and reasonable to offer them to all suitable patients who are overweight and wish to reduce their risk of weight related complications.
We also believe it is important to use these drugs responsibly and to ensure that once weight loss is achieved behavioural change can support a lifelong healthy weight using the minimum amount of pharmacological intervention. We also would like with your help to research and audit these results to show that they work. We are working with insurers to get more of them to cover costs of our full programs including personal training and gym membership. Patients will be guided through the process by a GP and have the option to be supported by either one of our two therapists; Kirti Tatiwala our dietician who specifically focuses on nutrition and Neelam Daswani a health coach with emphasis on wellbeing fitness and mentoring.
Learning Enhancement Specialist for our children in quarantine or home learning.
Our wonderful learning enhancement specialist, Sharmila Rodricks, is available to help your children learn via Zoom if you are stuck in quarantine or over the upcoming holidays such as Chinese New Year and Easter. She has over 18+ years of experience supporting students of all levels with various learning needs. She provides individualized learning support plans to cater to each child’s specific areas for growth.
To book a session with her or find out more information, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org