Early today, I brought Little Miss Siu Baau to Human Health, a network of private clinics spread all over Hong Kong, for her hepatitis A vaccination. It was our first taste of their private healthcare system, which is so much different from what we were used to with our pediatrician back home. What used to be a 30-minute consultation, vaccination and small talk became a 5-minute in and out of the doctor’s clinic. Here, if you book for a vaccination, that is all you get, no head circumference, height or weight measurements (and booking for a vaccination does not imply that you want a pediatrician to do it, it can be any doctor, so specify specify specify!). If you have other concerns about your baby, you have to book for that as well for a consultation fee of HKD260 apart from the vaccination fee.
For HKD470 for the hepatitis A vaccine, this is what we got. The clinic has a table top that serves as a patient bed, except that the mattress is missing. This is where I was asked to hold down our baby before the injection to her thigh. Astounded, I asked, Me? Not the nurse? Yes, the doctor was referring to me because apparently their nurses are not for that task. I believe I was being reasonable when I called in our private staff to hold down the baby’s legs while I manage the upper body. After the injection, I was expecting the pediatrician to at least note down when we will come back for the next dose, but she just told me that doses are given 6 months apart. I guess that implied book another vaccination when the time comes.
The hepatitis A vaccine is not routinely given to babies here, so if you want it for your baby, you have to do your own homework.
I have nothing against Human Health. What we experienced today is part of the efficiency of this vibrant city. So efficient in fact that we did not have to wait; the doctor was there on the dot. We are definitely going back for the next hepatitis A and influenza vaccines.
Just the same, I miss our old pediatrician and the extra TLC that is worth more than any consultation fee.