Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Flu vaccines to be distributed for free to high-risk groups

TRIVALENT:Vaccinations are to help protect against Yamagata lineage influenza B, as well as the influenza A variants H1N1 and H3N2, as recommended by the WHO

Staff writer, with CNA

Government-funded flu vaccines are to be made available from Thursday next week and eligible recipients should get their shots as soon as possible at any of the nation’s 3,000 medical facilities where the free vaccines are to be offered, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Monday.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the government purchased more than 3.16 million doses of influenza vaccine this year, including 2.93 million doses for adults and 233,000 for children, about 68,000 doses more than last year.

The free flu vaccinations are to be available for high-risk groups, including: people aged 65 and above; children from six-months-old to preschool age; nursing home residents; patients with rare or acute diseases; healthcare workers; individuals employed in animal farming or animal disease prevention; and people aged between 60 and 64 with high-risk chronic illnesses.

This year, pregnant women and individuals aged 50 and above with high-risk chronic illnesses will also be eligible to receive free immunization, Chuang said.

This year the government is to offer WHO-recommended trivalent vaccines to help protect against three influenza viruses: influenza A (H3N2), influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B of the Yamagata lineage, Chuang said.

Drifted H3N2 viruses were first detected in March last year and subsequently caused widespread outbreaks, Chuang said.

Winter’s dominant virus strain — a mutated variant of H3N2 — has claimed 400 lives in Hong Kong, he added.

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