Tue, Sep 29, 2009 - Page 2 News List

CDC prepares for mass A(H1N1) vaccinations

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Steve Kuo (郭旭崧) said yesterday that no reservations will be needed for A(H1N1) influenza vaccinations when they become available late next month or early in November.

“A detailed announcement about the vaccine campaign will be available before Oct. 20,” Kuo said after a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.

He said that the slowdown of the swine flu epidemic meant the government’s strategy to contain it was working. However, that did not mean the CDC would become complacent, he said, citing the example of the UK, where the epidemic subsided after it reached an apex in July, before new cases emerged last week in a second wave of infections.

Kuo said that the CDC would distribute sufficient doses of the vaccine to local hospitals and clinics, but added that there could also be unpredictable damage to some of the vaccines.

“Unpredictable damage, such as losses or contamination during transportation, will occur. We estimate, however, that such damage will affect less than 1 percent of the vaccines,” Kuo said.

The vaccines will be distributed according to priority, with typhoon-affected people and medical personnel in charge of disease control and prevention first, followed by pregnant women and then pre-school children, seriously ill patients, elementary, junior and senior high school students, Kuo said.

Further down the priority list will be individuals aged between 50 and 64, healthy people aged 25 to 49, those more than 25 years old at high risk of cardiopulmonary disease and those aged 19 to 24.

To facilitate the vaccination drive, inoculation stations will be established at schools and medical institutions late next month or early in November, Kuo said.

Meanwhile, the latest tallies compiled by the Central Epidemics Command Center (CECC) showed that two people who tested positive for swine flu were hospitalized yesterday, increasing the number of the country’s hospitalized cases to 298.

Seventeen patients have died, 250 recovered and 31 remain in hospitals, the CECC said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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