Thu, Apr 16, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Group calls for expansion of free vaccine services

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Immunization Vision and Strategy (台灣疫苗推動協會, TIVS) yesterday urged the Cabinet to spend more money on free vaccine services for children and senior citizens.

The lobby group made the plea at a press conference organized to mark its second anniversary.

The Cabinet’s budget for free vaccine services is limited, granting each family an average of NT$10,843 a year for vaccines for children, TIVS said.

‘NOT ENOUGH”

“More than 80 percent of parents say it is not enough,” TIVS chairman Lee Ching-yun (李慶雲) said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) said the Cabinet was planning to include pneumonia vaccines for children and senior citizens, as well as the five-in-one or six-in-one vaccines for children, a move which will cost approximately NT$2 billion a year.

The five-in-one vaccines are administered to babies to protect them against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and hemophilus influenza type b. The six-in-one vaccines include protection against hepatitis B.

However, the plan has been stalled because of financial problems.

PRIORITIES

“The government can spend NT$70 billion [US$2 billion] a year on DRAM factories to reinvigorate the business. Why not this? I don’t understand,” Twu said.

TIVS statistics showed that Kinmen County Government offered the best free vaccine services, including vaccines against pneumonia for children and senior citizens and cervical cancer for women.

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