Hong Kong is a city internationally recognised as having a high standard of healthcare. It has the eighth highest life expectancy at birth in the world, and the sixth lowest infant death rate, which is used as an indicator of how good healthcare is in a country.
The healthcare services available in Hong Kong are either public (government-owned) or private. Both offer high standards of medical care, but may differ in the services offered, service levels (for example, waiting times) and facilities.
Expatriates living in Hong Kong use both public and private health care facilities. Expatriates are entitled to government healthcare subsidies but you will need to apply for a Hong Kong Government ID card.
You may need vaccinations or other preventive medicines before you leave for Hong Kong, particularly if you are also visiting other countries in the region. Your doctor will advise you on which vaccinations you need. He or she will ask you about your general health, what vaccinations you have had in the past, which countries and regions you will be visiting and what activities you have planned. See your doctor at least four to six weeks before you travel to ensure that there is time for your vaccinations to take effect.
No vaccinations are required for travel to Hong Kong.
It is important to check that any boosters or routine vaccinations are up to date before you travel. This may include the combined DTP vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis – also known as whooping cough), measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and polio.
Outbreaks of scarlet fever have been reported in Hong Kong. This is a bacterial infection that mainly affects children. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent scarlet fever. It is therefore important to take strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions.
There are also outbreaks of dengue fever reported in Hong Kong, a viral illness transmitted by mosquito bites. There are no vaccines or medicines to prevent dengue fever. Try to take measures to prevent mosquito bites, such as using insect repellent on exposed skin, wearing long sleeves and trousers, and ensuring there are secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
Malaria is not found in Hong Kong, so you do not need to take any preventive medicines. However, talk to your doctor about malaria prevention if you are planning to travel to other countries in the region.
Fit for Travel website
Updates on disease outbreaks
Please note, vaccination recommendations are based on the information available at the time of publication. For up to date advice on disease outbreaks in Hong Kong, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and view the latest travel notices
Take copies of your medical records with you to Hong Kong. You can ask for either print or electronic copies from your doctor before you go. Having your records with you will ensure that if you need to see a doctor, he or she will have access to your medical history, including details of any medical conditions, tests, treatments and vaccinations.
If your prescription medicines do not contain any controlled substances, you can take a reasonable supply for your personal use (as much as you will use for the duration of your stay, for example) without seeking prior approval from the authorities.
If you plan to take prescription medicines containing controlled substances (such as codeine, diazepam or morphine) with you to Hong Kong, you will need to apply for authorisation from the Department of Health before you travel.
You will also need to take supporting documents to prove that the medicines are for your personal use, for example a letter from your doctor and/or a copy of the prescription.
Further details are available on the Customs and Excise Department website
Healthcare costs in Hong Kong are very high compared with other countries around the world. Private medical insurance (PMI) is not mandatory for expatriates, but many employers provide PMI for their employees while they are abroad. Expatriates who do not have PMI will have to self-pay if they use public or private healthcare services.
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