Wed, Oct 13, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Large drop in number of flu shots: CDC

LOOMING PROBLEM:The CDC yesterday said that 111 new cases of dengue fever were reported over the last week, the most new cases in a single week this year

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that the number of people who have taken flu shots this year is significantly less than at the same time last year.

CDC Deputy Director-General Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said that as of Oct. 10 only 640,000 people received seasonal flu inoculations during the 10 days it had been made available. That number is only about one-third of the number of people who received the annual flu shots at the same time last year, he said.

Saying that there have been reports some parents are worried about the potential side effects associated with the A(H1N1) vaccine — which is one of the three types of vaccines included in the flu shots this year, Shih said parents should ensure that their children receive the flu shots because they will provide immunity against the H3N2 virus that has become widespread in certain communities.

Shih said the center had -purchased nearly 3 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine — from a local firm, Adimmune Corp, as well as foreign suppliers, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis.

The vaccination program will run until Nov. 30, for citizens over the age of 65, children aged six months to 10, medical personnel in charge of disease control and prevention, poultry breeders and patients with rare or serious diseases, he said.

If the number of doses exceeds requirements, any surplus would be made available to the general public from Dec. 1.

People who are not on the priority list for free inoculation can still be vaccinated for between NT$500 and NT$600 a shot, the CDC said.

Health authorities began offering free vaccinations against seasonal flu in 1998, and added swine flu — officially known as influenza A(H1N1) — last year amid global fears over A(H1N1), which can be fatal.

In other developments, the CDC yesterday said that 111 new indigenous cases of dengue fever had been reported in the past week, setting a new high for the number of new cases reported in a single week this year.

The number of confirmed indigenous cases of dengue fever has reached 483 so far this year, with most of the cases in Kaohsiung and Tainan city and county, while the number of imported dengue infections rose to 204, mainly from Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, Shih said.

The authorities said they would step up efforts to warn residents against the risks of allowing water to gather, as mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus can easily proliferate where water has gathered in ditches, vases and other containers. Those found to be in violation of such rules could be fined between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000.

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