Message from College President 

 

dr tse collegepresident portrait

 

 

 

As the keenly awaited Tokyo Olympic Games are broadcast live, we share the vigour and thrills of the contests at home with family and friends and probably if only for brief periods, even at work, when circumstances really allow, with colleagues in the staff rooms! Hundreds of excited citizens chanted their encouragement and showcased total support to the Hong Kong Team in eateries and shopping malls, regardless whether the Hong Kong scores are leading or falling behind. The athletes’ longstanding hardship with unending practices and monotonous drills, and the intermingling of the occasional satisfying moments from a new personal record or overcoming a demanding skill and times of loneliness or self-doubt have not deterred them from reaching their dream and goal – to be an Olympian. As paediatricians, we are particularly touched watching these young people on the big world stage. Inspired and humbled, we learn from their sportsmanship, their stamina and their honesty to follow their hearts.

 

Despite its abrupt arrival almost two years ago and the availability of effective and safe vaccines, COVID-19 remains the core challenge of health services and medical research, especially with the emergence of increasingly transmissible and evasive viral mutants. Even in privileged parts of the world, vaccination rates while improving over the recent months, has remained uneven. In many cities, social restrictions could still only be eased intermittently, and the world economy has stagnated. Our College continues to be deeply concerned about the adverse impacts of not only COVID-19, but also the infection control measures necessary to contain the spread of the pandemic. Our children have suffered both mentally and physically from the social distancing and prolonged school suspensions. With the tremendous expert assistance and dedication from our Paediatric Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases (PIAID) colleagues, our College jointly with The Hong Kong Society for PIAID and The Hong Kong Paediatric Society on 10 May 2021 issued an appeal to adults in stable health to receive COVID-19 vaccination. This would not only protect themselves, but also members of their household including children who are not eligible for vaccination. Dr Mike Kwan, Dr Patrick Ip and myself represented College at a media interview hosted by the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine to present the above themes in early June. It was extensively covered in the local media and followed by a series of interviews on air, enhancing awareness in the Hong Kong community about the COVID-19 disease, its impact and the preventive strategies in children and adolescents.

 

On 3 June 2021, the Secretary for Food and Health announced lowering the age-limit for the COVID19 (Comirnaty) vaccination from 16 to 12 years. In view of the high prevalence of allergic conditions in our youngsters and the concerns from parents, adolescents and clinicians regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and whether adolescents with allergic conditions were medically suitable for vaccination, there was an urgent need for good quality information from authoritative experts. Fortuitously, our Vice-President Professor Leung Ting Fan is one of the leading paediatric allergy experts in Hong Kong, and together with our HKSPIAID colleagues expediently and arduously drafted a Joint Position Statement on Allergies and Adolescent COVID-19 Vaccination. This authoritative and evidence-based document was issued on 15 June as a timely expert reference for fellow paediatricians and other practitioners to prepare them for when they are consulted on this matter. The Hong Kong adolescent COVID-19 vaccination programme was commenced on 14 June.

 

A 14-minute educational video on adolescent COVID-19 vaccination in both Cantonese and English was also produced, fully funded by the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians Foundation. The comprehensive scripts were written by our PIAID experts and the actors comprised both relatively senior and enthusiastic, talented young paediatricians.

 

A series of five College webinars targeted at school staff, students and parents were conducted during 2 July to 9 July. Again, our PIAID experts constituted the panels, presented scientific facts and explanation of the COVID-19 (Comirnaty) vaccine in relation to adolescents and answered questions from the audience.

 

If you missed and are interested to review any of these excellent COVID-19 related materials, you may look no further than the COVID-19 Corner of the College website. We have placed all our COVID-19 related education materials and documents in this section. I firmly believe you will join the College Council to sincerely thank our PIAID colleagues for everything they have contributed to support College in these endeavours to improve child health and for the benefits of our community.

 

Since my message in April about the College’s 30th Anniversary, I am very pleased to update you that the Anniversary Celebration Organising Committee under Professor Leung, our Vice-President’s able and resourceful leadership, supported by the Professional and General Affairs Committee chaired by Dr Ng Chi Hang has deliberated an exciting and fully-fledged celebration programme that you will find more details of in this issue of the Newsletter. After such a long period of social distancing, we hope that our celebratory activities will be able to connect us all again, not only in academic learning, but also in fellowship. I am extending to you my warm welcome and genuine invitation: PLEASE COME JOIN US TO CONNECT, LEARN AND HAVE FUN! Your participation will ensure the greatest success of our 30th Anniversary. I look forward to celebrating with you and your beloved ones!

 

 

Dr. TSE Wing Yee, Winnie

President

August 2021

 


 

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