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Free flu vaccination program to start throughout Taiwan Monday

2018/10/14 16:56:20

Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control

Taipei, Oct. 14 (CNA) The government will launch its annual free flu vaccination program on Monday at hospitals and other medical facilities throughout Taiwan, starting with people in high-risk groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This year's program, which will be carried out in two stages, is aimed at increasing the free vaccination coverage to 25 percent of the total population, the CDC said Sunday.

With that goal in mind, a total of 6 million flu vaccines will be made available in the first phase for people aged 50 and over, pregnant women, mothers with babies younger than six months, children between the ages of six months and preschool years, nursing home residents, patients with rare or acute diseases, health care workers, and people with high-risk chronic illnesses, the CDC said.

Starting Monday, the vaccine can be obtained at hospitals and other medical institutions, public health departments and community immunization clinics across the country, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

In the second phase of the program, elementary and high school students will be able to receive the free vaccine, with effect from Nov. 1, he said.

Chuang said the program is getting off to a late start this year because delivery of the vaccines was delayed.

Taiwan normally starts its annual free vaccination program on Oct. 1 in preparation for the flu season, which usually begins in November and peaks around February the following year before slowing down in March.

According to Chuang, it usually takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, and those who receive it now will be covered until February or March next year.

In Taiwan, influenza is caused mainly by the type A and B viruses, with type A viruses classified into subtypes H1N1 and H3N2.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Evelyn Kao)
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