Jump to the content zone at the center

Department of Health

News

Taiwan CDC launches free seasonal flu shot campaign on

On September 28, 2011, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced it would launch its annual free seasonal influenza vaccination campaign on October 1, 2011 at a press conference. The campaign will stop after all the doses have been used. This year, the government-funded vaccine is not made available to everyone. The target groups to receive the government-funded vaccine include only the high risk groups such as elderly people aged 65 and older, people with major illness/injury, people with rare disease, residents and personnel at nursing institutes, children aged 6 moths through 6 years, elementary school students from grade 1 through 4, health care and public health personnel, poultry farmers and animal health inspectors. Therefore, Taiwan CDC urges people who are not at high risk of developing influenza but wish to receive the vaccine to get vaccinated at their own expenses as soon as possible. In addition, Taiwan CDC invited the President of the Taiwan Counter Contagious Disease Society (Taiwan CCD), Dr. Jen-Hsien Wang, to act as the spokesperson of this year’s seasonal influenza vaccination campaign. At the press conference, Dr. Wang said that to prevent crisis caused by influenza, it is crucial to conduct proper risk management activities and one of the proper risk management activities is influenza vaccination because it is the most effective method for preventing influenza virus infection and reducing the potential for serious complications, especially for people in high-risk groups. Hence, Dr. Wang said he is very pleased to see Taiwan CDC implementing a targeted influenza vaccination campaign directed at high-risk individuals, which will contribute significantly to the existing influenza prevention efforts. Besides elementary students, people in other target groups are urged to get the vaccine as soon as possible at local health centers or contracted hospitals beginning October 1, 2011. On-campus seasonal influenza vaccination organized by the health authority and schools will be held at elementary schools to facilitate elementary students in getting the vaccine. To facilitate access to the seasonal influenza vaccine, community influenza vaccination clinics are being offered. Moreover, as October 1, 2011 falls on a Saturday, local health bureaus in the nation have arranged for public hospitals and local health centers to provide half-day outpatient services on the day in order to offer influenza vaccination on the scheduled date. Individuals who wish to get vaccinated against influenza at a non-public hospital or private clinic should find out if the hospital or clinic is open on the day ahead of time. According to Taiwan CDC, the risk of influenza-related complications is highest for elderly people aged 65 and older, people with major illness/injury, people with rare disease, residents and personnel at nursing institutes, children aged 6 moths through 6 years, elementary school students from grade 1 through 4, health care and public health personnel, poultry farmers and animal health inspectors. To be in line with the international community, Taiwan CDC has adopted a targeted vaccination campaign aimed at high-risk individuals in an attempt to raise the vaccination rate among high risk groups. Additionally, Taiwan CDC has planned to make government-funded influenza vaccines available to secondary targeted groups for the vaccine, including elementary school students from grade 5 through 6, people aged 50-64 with type 2 diabetes, chronic liver infection or liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic pulmonary diseases approximately one month after the launch of this year’s seasonal influenza vaccination campaign based on the vaccine usage and the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). Taiwan CDC thus urges people who are in the primary targeted groups for the government-funded influenza vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves against influenza. According to the respiratory virus surveillance data compiled by Taiwan CDC, influenza viruses continue to circulate in the community. Further, people of all ages can get influenza. Nevertheless, the risk of getting influenza-related complications varies among people, which can be categorized into three groups. The groups at highest risk for influenza infection are those recommended for the government-funded influenza vaccine. The groups at the second highest risk for influenza infection include middle school students, high school students, healthy adults aged above 50 and below 65, carers of infants aged below 6 months, elderly, and bed-ridden and sick people, as well as pregnant women and obese people. The groups at lowest risk for influenza infection are people who think they need the vaccine. The latter two groups are advised to get vaccinated against influenza at their own expense as soon as possible. In Taiwan, the influenza season usually starts in mid-December and reaches its peak around the Chinese New Year, which usually falls in either January or February. It takes approximately one month after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. Therefore, Taiwan CDC advises all individuals regardless of their risk to receive seasonal influenza vaccine every year to protect themselves from the threat of the influenza virus. Although influenza vaccination can effectively lower the chance of becoming infected with influenza virus, a vaccinated individual can still catch a cold caused by other virus. Therefore, the public is also urged to pay attention to personal hygiene and take all necessary preventive measures against infectious diseases at all times. For any questions or further information on influenza vaccination, please visit the local health bureau’s website or the Taiwan CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov.tw/english/index.aspx or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922. Source:Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan)