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CDC takes control of measles vaccinations after supplies drop

2018/04/24 21:50:05

Taipei, April 24 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced Tuesday that it has restricted measles vaccinations to certain groups of people after the country's measles vaccine stocks declined sharply to as few as 20,000 doses nationwide in two days.

Despite the CDC ruling out the likelihood of a measles epidemic in Taiwan, a nine-year high in measles infections has prompted people to swarm into hospitals for inoculation against the highly contagious disease.

According to CDC statistics, there were 30,000 doses of measles vaccine available for paid inoculations at hospitals and clinics around Taiwan on Sunday. The volume dropped to 26,000 the following day, and further decreased to around 20,000 doses on Tuesday, the data shows.

Faced with the sharp inventory drop, the CDC took control of measles vaccinations countrywide and stopped people from obtaining measles vaccinations at hospitals.

The pharmaceutical factory that produces the vaccine has also stopped shipments, making it possible for the CDC to control the vaccine's distribution.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that due to the reduction in the availability of the vaccine, measles vaccinations will now be limited to medical personnel working in emergency wards of medical centers in Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan, as well as employees at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Medical personnel serving in emergency wards at other medical centers around Taiwan will be the next target group for inoculation, followed by medical personnel in other departments, Chuang said, noting that the vaccinations will not be available to the general public until there is sufficient vaccine to meet demand.

Chuang said there is no need for panic, because most people aged 40 or over have an immune system resistant to measles after a big outbreak in Taiwan in the 1970s, and those aged between 20 and 40 could still have antibodies against the disease, since they all had to receive two shots of measles vaccine when they were infants.

As of Tuesday, there had been 23 confirmed cases of measles infection this year, including seven imported cases, according to the latest CDC data.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)