Sat, Feb 12, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Ma urges public to get flu shots

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promoted the efficacy of flu shots against a seasonal flu outbreak and instructed the Cabinet to step up its efforts to encourage the public to get vaccinated against influenza because the outbreak of seasonal flu and A(H1N1) remained strong.

In a video clip posted on his Facebook page, Ma called on the public to cooperate with the Department of Health’s (DOH) instructions and get vaccinated to prevent further outbreaks of seasonal flu.

“It is especially important for children under six years old to get vaccinated. Every life is valuable, and a flu shot remains the most effective way to prevent seasonal flu,” he said.

Ma said during an outbreak of A(H1N1) two years ago, about 25 percent of the nation’s population got flu shots, which has effectively kept the situation under control. The public should be vaccinated this year as well, the president said.

According to Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強), Ma instructed Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) to strengthen measures to promote the effect of the flu shots and prevent another outbreak.

Ma’s comments came after former DOH minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) on Tuesday — his last day in office — filed a lawsuit against seven political commentators saying they stigmatized locally produced vaccines and created a public panic.

In an interview with Era TV on Thursday, Yaung, who stepped down as minister on Wednesday, accused talk show host Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) and six guests on his Talking Show of exaggerating the negative impact of flu vaccines and urging people not to get flu shots. He said he had filed a lawsuit against them.

Cheng refuted Yaung’s accusation and said yesterday Yaung had refused an invitation from the show to discuss the vaccine issue.

Cheng said the show discussed the related risks of flu vaccine--related complications and compared the situation in Taiwan with that in other countries.

He insisted the show was only providing information about both the positive and negative impact of flu vaccines to the public. Cheng said he would consider filing a defamation lawsuit against Yaung.

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