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Bradford Hill Seminar – Epidemiology and control of COVID-19 in Hong Kong

23 February 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

All are invited to the online Bradford Hill Seminar:

Epidemiology and control of COVID-19 in Hong Kong

Professor Benjamin Cowling

School of Public Health, University of Hong Kong

Register to attend

Register in advance for this free online seminar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


In early 2020, Hong Kong was one of the first-affected locations outside of mainland China. However, in the first two years of the pandemic timely public health measures as part of a “Dynamic Zero Covid” strategy were able to successfully control a number of surges in daily case numbers, restricting confirmed cases to well below 1% of the population. Epidemiological analyses have improved our understanding of disease dynamics and the impact of control measures. For example, one of the most interesting phenomena in transmission has been “super-spreading”, in which we have determined that a minority of infections are responsible for a majority of transmission events.

In recent work, we have been examining how and why superspreading dynamics might vary over time. While mass vaccination provides a pathway back to a new normal in most parts of the world, the Hong Kong government has followed the strategy in mainland China of continuing “Dynamic Zero Covid” even when vaccine coverage reaches a high level. Our community studies provide evidence on levels of infections and immunity, and allow us to contrast the difference in effectiveness of the inactivated vaccine (Sinovac) and the mRNA vaccine (BioNTech/Fosun Pharma/Pfizer) being used in Hong Kong

About Professor Cowling

Professor Benjamin Cowling has been the Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) since 2013, and is a co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control at HKU SPH.

Prof Cowling’s primary research focus is in infectious disease epidemiology. In recent years he has designed and implemented large field studies of influenza transmission in the community and the effectiveness and impact of control measures. His latest research has focused on the modes of respiratory virus transmission, influenza vaccination effectiveness, and immunity to infections at the individual and population level. He has strong links with China CDC, and the NIGMS-funded Harvard Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.

Professor Cowling is a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, and an Associate Editor of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

About the Bradford Hill seminars

The Bradford Hill seminar series is the principal series of The Cambridge Population Health Sciences Partnership. This comprises the Departments of Public Health & Primary Care, MRC Biostatistics Unit and MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, bringing together a multi-disciplinary partnership of academics and public health professionals. The Bradford Hill seminar programme of internationally recognised speakers covers topics of broad interest to our public health research community. It aims to transcend as well as connect the activities of our individual partners.

All are welcome at our Bradford Hill seminars.


23 February 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm




Bradford Hill Seminars
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