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Flu jab booking set

Community vaccination centres (CVCs) in various districts will offer free seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) to Hong Kong residents aged 50 or above when they are there for COVID-19 vaccination starting from October 6.   The Government announced today that eligible people can make reservations for receiving both COVID-19 vaccination and SIV through the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme booking system starting from 9am tomorrow.   They may also choose to receive the free SIV on site when they are receiving the COVID-19 jab starting from October 6.   Given that local seasonal influenza activity has been staying at low levels since February 2020, the overall immunity against influenza in the community is at present relatively low, the Government noted.   As the winter flu season is approaching, citizens are strongly urged to complete the recommended dosage of COVID-19 vaccines and the latest seasonal influenza vaccine as early as possible to obtain better protection in the event of

December retail sales up 6.2%

The value of total retail sales in December, provisionally estimated at $33.3 billion, rose 6.2% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in December, online sales accounted for 10.8%. Provisionally estimated at $3.6 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 31.5% year-on-year.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 3.4% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified increased 5.5%.   This was followed by sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+24% in value); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+10.8%); commodities in department stores (+2.5%); wearing apparel (+12%); medicines and cosmetics (+9.7%); motor vehicles and parts (+8.7%); fuels (+18.4%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+15.5%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+4.7%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+7.8%); and optical shops (+25.1%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 6.8% for the period, followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-3% in value); and furniture and fixtures (-4.1%).   The Government said that the value of total retail sales increased further by 6.2% year-on-year in December along with the continued economic recovery, though the growth pace moderated somewhat from the preceding month. For 2021 as a whole, total retail sales value rose 8.1% but was still 27.2% below the level in 2018 before the recession as tourism stayed at a standstill.   Looking ahead, the Government noted that the latest wave of the local epidemic and tightened anti-epidemic measures have weighed on consumption sentiment and posed renewed pressures on the retail sector.   It is essential for the community to work together with the Government to contain the epidemic as soon as possible to create conditions for the continued revival of retail business and the overall economy, it added.
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