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1.8% inflation in October

Overall consumer prices rose 1.8% in October year-on-year, smaller than the 4.4% increase in September, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of the Government's one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 1.7%, slightly less than September's 1.8%.   Compared with October last year, price increases were recorded for electricity, gas and water; clothing and footwear; meals out and takeaway food; basic food; alcoholic drinks and tobacco; transport; miscellaneous services, miscellaneous goods and housing.   On the other hand, a year-on-year decrease in price was recorded for durable goods.    The Government said that underlying consumer price inflation remained moderate in October.   The year-on-year increase in food prices showed some moderation, though remained relatively fast. Prices of clothing and footwear continued to record a visible increase, while those of energy-related items rose sharply. Price pressur

Advice on vaccine use published

Two scientific committees and the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel have considered that the benefit of using the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine generally exceeds the risk of not using any vaccines in people aged 60 or above.   The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging & Zoonotic Diseases under the Centre for Health Protection (JSC) today published the consensus interim recommendations on using the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine by Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) in Hong Kong.   The Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines had earlier submitted its recommendations to the Secretary for Food & Health and considered that, under the current epidemic situation, the benefits of authorising the use of Sinovac's vaccine for protecting against COVID-19 outweigh the risks.   It also recommended that the appropriateness of using CoronaVac in the elderly aged 60 or above should be advised by the two scientific committees.   The committees convened a meeting today, joined by the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel (EAP), to provide interim recommendations to the Government on the use of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in the city.   Given that phase 3 clinical studies of the vaccine have not been published in peer-reviewed journals, the JSC-EAP reviewed the data and information available, based on materials submitted to the advisory panel by Sinovac.   The interim recommendation might be updated based on additional safety and efficacy data from phase 3 clinical trials, international developments and conditions of emergency use approval in Hong Kong.   The impact of vaccine delivery on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) was also deliberated at the joint meeting.   It was considered that at the current phase of the vaccination programme, there is limited evidence on the effects of vaccination on preventing transmission and there are constraints in vaccine availability. Population level protection will not be achieved in the short term.   It was also agreed at the meeting that vaccination is only one of the tools in the overall public health response to COVID-19 and the combination of NPIs with vaccination will allow for maximum protection against the virus.   There is a need to continue public health strategies on NPIs, including social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask in public places, to reduce the risk of transmission.   Delays in vaccine supply and suboptimal vaccine uptake would mean that NPI measures have to be kept in place for longer.   Click here for the interim recommendations.
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