Tue, Sep 03, 2013 - Page 8

‘Skirts are incapable’

The other day, Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) and Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) kneeled before Premier Jiang Yi-huah to beg for flood prevention funds.

What Su and Chang did supported a comment made by a senior Taiwan independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) a few years ago that those who wear skirts are incapable of serving as commander-in-chief.

Kneeling to beg for something? Su and Chang have forgotten that Taiwan is no longer an old Chinese empire, but that it is now a democratic country, that the people of Taiwan are master and the nation’s leaders are servants: that they themselves are representatives of the masters (people) in their counties.

How can a representative of the master beg the servant for money?

What Su and Chang did once again reinforced the belief that women have a slave mentality, that women are the weaker sex and that women cannot lead.

Su and Chang should be ashamed of themselves. They should resign.

Ken Huang

Murrieta, California

A question of misleading

I intend to be in Taiwan for business and I am concerned about the potential resurgence of an H7N9 influenza virus epidemic in the region. I am a reader of the Taipei Times and I truly appreciate its mission to “cover events with balance and a critical eye.” In this regard, I feel compelled to ask staff reporter Alison Hsiao, who published an H7N9 article (“NHRI prepared for bird flu emergency,”April 13, page 4), to follow up on and update a public declaration by Su Ih-jen (蘇益仁), director of the National Health Research Institutes’ (NHRI) National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology.

I understand from the article that Su said the NHRI, a non-profit foundation established by the government, could produce 200,000 doses of a vaccine against the new H7N9 strain of avian flu within three months.

Since May, several companies are getting ready to produce enough candidate H7N9 vaccines that have successfully passed preclinical testing and are either in clinical trial, or were slated to be tested on humans last month, according to a presentation to the US National Vaccine Advisory Committee and a Fierce Vaccines report (July 11, 2013).

I would like to be updated on the current production status of H7N9 vaccines in Taiwan. I would be grateful if Hsiao could investigate whether Su kept his promise to deliver 200,000 doses of H7N9 vaccine within three months.

I suppose that if the doses were ready, this great achievement would have already been publicized.

If not, Su has deliberately misled the health authorities and Taiwanese. It is a blessing that Taiwan is not currently facing an H7N9 epidemic.

However, it leaves a very short period of time to stock-pile sufficient doses of preventive H7N9 vaccine for immunization in the fall against a potential Asian outbreak of H7N9 this winter.

It is also critical to find out when the NHRI H7N9 vaccine will be ready to initiate a mandatory safety Phase I clinical trial and determine whether it induces protective levels of antibodies in humans before any immunization campaign.

Michel Klein, MD

Toronto, Canada