Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 2 News List

CDC urges public to get free flu shots while supplies last

COME ONE, COME ALL After a selective offering to high-risk groups ends this month, hundreds of thousands of flu shots will be available to all

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Free influenza vaccinations will be available beginning on Dec. 1, with an estimated 350,000 vaccines available for adults and 120,000 for children between six months and three years old.

Shih Wen-yi (施文儀), deputy director-general of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said the vaccines would be made available after Nov. 30, when a selective offering to high-risk groups will finish.

Elderly people aged 65 and older, medical and health care personnel, poultry farmers, first and second-grade students and kids between six months and two years old are being offered free vaccines until Nov. 30 because they are considered to be at high risk of infection, Shih said.

The CDC has procured a total of 2.37 million vaccinations for adults and 320,000 for young children for this year's flu season, he said.

The CDC estimated that 50 percent of those over 65 years of age had been vaccinated for this flu season, which is about 3 percent lower that last year, Shih said, adding that the slight decrease was likely because of public concern that the vaccination could contain mercury.

Shih said the CDC expected flu infections to increase this week and peak before Christmas. He urged people in high-risk categories to take advantage of the free vaccinations before Nov. 30.

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