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Large-Scale Movement of People for the Upcoming Spring Festival Precautions Should be Taken to Prevent the Spread of Flu and COVID-19 Children and Elderly People Should be Vaccinated Against Flu

With the recent sharp falls in temperature, respiratory tract viruses (RTVs) have become more active. From last year (2020) to date, COVID-19 prevention has been successful and respiratory tract communicable disease prevention is also quite effective; however, flu viruses that cause a peak of infections before Spring Festival every year should not be ignored.

The Department of Health, Taipei City Government (DOH) states that communicable disease surveillance data of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (CDC) show that, nationally, emergency flu cases as a percentage of all cases treated in the past four weeks (December 6, 2020 – January 2, 2021) increased from 7.2% to 7.4%, with the percentage in Taipei City up from 7.1% to 7.9%. It is expected that this figure will increase before Spring Festival. The large number of people travelling between north and south will increase the risk of spreading viruses in this period. Influenza vaccination can reduce the risk of flu infection and illness; however, it takes around two weeks for the protection effect to arise. People with young children or elderly relatives or others with low resistance who haven’t yet been vaccinated should be vaccinated at an early date.
The DOH states that flu season peaks in the time of Spring Festival annually in January and February when there's a spike in the number of cases. At present, COVID-19 still threatens and both flu and COVID-19 can be transmitted by droplets and contact. There is still no COVID-19 vaccine available in Taiwan; however, we can reduce the threat of flu by being vaccinated against it. To make vaccination more convenient for citizens, as well as receiving the vaccine at Taipei City designated hospitals or clinics, the DOH will also arrange for a vaccination service at MRT stations from January 4, 2021; all people eligible for vaccination who have not yet received one can use this service to be vaccinated. (for information about sessions, go to the DOH website https://health.gov.taipei/ home page/theme/disease prevention /flu vaccine /vaccination subjects and locations).
Flu viruses are usually spread by droplets or direct contact. The common symptoms of flu are a fever and cough. Children and the elderly have weaker resistance and complications such as pneumonia that can be fatal in serious cases can easily arise. Getting a flu vaccine is one of the most effective methods to protect oneself and others from the illness. The DOH reminds everyone that the current 30,000 remaining flu doses is limited supply and it takes two weeks for the vaccine’s to take full effect; therefore, everyone who qualifies for a vaccine at public expense should be vaccinated as early as possible so they can be healthy and spend Spring Festival with their families. For any questions about flu vaccine, please call the DOH vaccination hotline on (02)2375-4341, the citizens’ service hotline on 1999 or contact one of the 12 district Health Service Centers in Taipei.