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PCG: No anti-measles shots required of Filipino workers entering HK

29 March 2019

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Many Filipinos are flying home for the graduation of their children.

By Daisy CL Mandap

The Philippine Consulate has quelled fears all Filipino domestic workers entering Hong Kong need to have proof that they had anti-measles shots before their journey.

The fear was apparently stoked by a letter sent to employment agencies on Mar 28 by Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection, advising them to include anti-measles shots as part of the medical screening of foreign domestic workers entering HK.

Some Filipino workers in Hong Kong took this to mean that they can no longer leave or re-enter Hong Kong from the Philippines, unless they can show the inoculation proof.  

But an officer of the Consulate denied that there is such a requirement. He said the CHP should have sent them an advisory beforehand if it were true.

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Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre agreed, saying the CHP letter to the employment agencies was just a recommendation, and should not result in any Filipino migrant worker being denied entry into Hong Kong if she can’t prove that she had been inoculated.

But he said he will confer with Hong Kong’s health authorities on how best to handle the situation.  He said he was also worried the employment agencies would pass on the costly anti-measles shots to the worker.

In its letter to the agencies, the CHP noted an upsurge in the number of measles cases in Hong Kong, with 30 reported so far this year, compared to only 17 for the whole of 2018. Of these 30 cases, 4 were foreign domestic workers who traveled to their home country during the incubation period.


The letter pointed out that in the Philippines in particular, there had been 18,407 cases of measles being reported in 2018, nearly 8 times as many as in the previous year. For the first three months of 2019,  a total of 23,563 cases have already been reported, resulting in 338 deaths.

The CHP advised the agencies to inform potential employers about the need to ensure that the FDWs they intend to hire has been immunized through receiving two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

According to Labatt dela Torre, getting the two anti-measles shots would require a wait of at least a month.  Thus, employers should be willing to wait this long so the worker can be fully immunized, or allow her to fly in and get her shots in Hong Kong.

Posts in an online Facebook page, Domestic Workers Corner, show that employers, especially those with young children, are not taking any chances, and have already started having their helpers immunized.

But at least one said her employer told her to cancel her planned visit to the Philippines because of the worrying measles outbreak, both in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

What sparked the most concern, however, was a post from a worker who reported that a friend of a friend was not allowed to leave Hong Kong on Mar 27 because she had no vaccination proof.

The report could only be a hoax, or at best a fluke, because this writer flew to the Philippines on the same day, along with dozens of Filipina workers going home for a vacation, and not one of them was asked for such proof.


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