Health minister denies shortage of flu shots - Focus Taiwan

Health minister denies shortage of flu shots

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)

Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) There is no problem with the influenza vaccine supply in Taiwan as there are still 2.02 million shots available, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Wednesday.

Chen said that seasonal influenza outbreaks in the country this year do not seem to have been as serious as in the past few years, citing Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data showing that around 75,000 people had sought treatment for flu-like symptoms in the week ending Dec. 7, which is still within a normal level.

A total of 75,997 people sought outpatient or emergency treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals and clinics in Taiwan during the week-long period, up by 2 percent from a week earlier but still at a low level, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Chen was responding to rumors that the country is running out of influenza vaccine. Since October, 258 patients have developed serious flu complications, with 11 fatalities.

The second phase of a free flu vaccination program started Sunday, with 2.02 million government-funded flu vaccines made available for people aged 65 and over and preschool children at 1,305 contracted health care institutions around Taiwan.

(By Liu Kuan-ting and Evelyn Kao)

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