President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will be inoculated with a locally produced vaccine against influenza A(H1N1), also known as swine flu, tomorrow to show that the quality of the locally produced vaccine is as good as foreign versions.
Vice Premier Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Department of Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) will also receive the A(H1N1) vaccination tomorrow.
The government has ordered 10 million doses of the vaccine from Adimmune Corp (國光生技) — the nation’s only vaccine manufacturer. Another 5 million doses of vaccine developed by the multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis will cover an anticipated nationwide demand of 12 million doses.
A national swine flu immunization program began on Nov. l, with people entitled to one free shot in order of priority, starting with typhoon victims, medical personnel in charge of disease control and prevention and pregnant women. They will be followed by toddlers and pre-school children, seriously ill patients, elementary, junior and senior high school students, individuals in the 19 to 24 age bracket and those over 25 years of age at high risk of cardiopulmonary disease. Next to be vaccinated will be healthy people in the 25-49 age bracket, and those between 50 and 64 years of age.
Based on the order of priority, Ma belongs in the last group of people to be vaccinated, which is scheduled to get the shot in March if there are still government-funded vaccines left.
Ma, however, will be vaccinated earlier to raise public confidence in the domestically produced vaccine, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said.
Tomorrow will also be the first day of the national anti-A(H1N1) inoculation drive targeting the nation’s pre-school children, elementary school students, pregnant women and seriously ill patients.
The nation recorded its 28th fatality from the new flu strain on Friday. The victim was a 52-year-old man from Taichung City who suffered from chronic diabetes.