Local health centers affected by a shortage of influenza vaccine for children and toddlers have been cleared to use half-sized adult doses, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
Of the 3.09 million government-funded flu vaccine doses made available to certain groups of people since October, just 157,000 of 0.5ml adult doses and 19,000 0.25ml pediatric doses are left, the CDC said.
“Parents have complained recently that they could not find flu vaccines for their children, so we activated our contingency measure [yesterday], which permits contracted medical institutions to drain off half of an adult dose of influenza vaccine manufactured by local firm Adimmune Corp and foreign supplier Sanofi-Aventis before administering it to children aged between six months and three years old,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a news conference.
Such vaccines are to be available at public health centers across the nation, healthcare service centers in Taipei and city hospitals in Greater Kaohsiung, Chuang said.
According to the centers’ disease surveillance statistics, a total of 53 severe complicated influenza cases have been recorded since August, 14 of which were fatal.
Chuang said the majority of flu cases were caused by the H3N2 influenza viruses; the flu vaccine offers protection against three of the four strains of H3N2 that have been discovered domestically thus far.
The centers also said that the publicly funded 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) program for children between two and five years old is to be extended to toddlers under the age of one starting on Thursday next week.
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Division of Pediatric Infection physician Chiu Cheng-hsun (邱政洵) said such infections can cause respiratory diseases such as severe pneumonia, which affected from 80 to 100 people per 100,000 before the PVC13 vaccine was included in childhood immunizations last year.
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