Thu, Nov 30, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Children under eight must receive two flu shots: CDC

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

MacKay Memorial Hospital pediatrist Huang Tsung-ning, second right, and Centers for Disease Control officials on Tuesday at a news conference at the agency hold up a sign saying that young children can get a flu shot.

Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times

Children between six months and eight years old who have received only one influenza vaccination need to get a second shot — at least one month after the first one — in the year they are first vaccinated to be fully protected against the flu, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

Last year, flu was the fifth leading cause of death in children under 14 and it can be avoided by getting vaccinated, Mackay Memorial Hospital pediatrician Huang Tsung-ning (黃瑽寧) said.

“Most parents now know that they can take their children to get vaccinated against the flu when they are six months or older, but many of them have concerns,” he said.

Chen gave the example of a mother who asked whether her child should receive a flu vaccine this season as her family had all been infected last summer, saying that the influenza virus mutates rapidly, which is why flu vaccines vary from year to year.

“The seasonal flu vaccines are made to protect people against three types of influenza virus — the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the influenza A (H3N2) virus and the influenza B virus — so even if you had been infected this year, you might still get infected by the other two types,” he said.

“Getting vaccinated against flu is like buying insurance” and getting vaccinated every flu season can provide better protection against serious flu complications or even death, Huang said.

There are about 1.2 million pre-elementary school age children who are eligible for government-funded flu vaccines this season and so far about 600,000 of them have been vaccinated, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.

However, of about 160,000 children who received their first influenza shots this flu season, about 100,000 did not come back for a second dose, Lo said, adding that the CDC is urging parents to complete the vaccination.

The CDC said that 50,711 cases of influenza-like illnesses were reported across the nation last week, indicating a relatively low point in the transmission season.

However, 39 serious flu complications have been reported since Oct. 1, the CDC said, urging people to get vaccinated and practice good personal hygiene to prevent flu infection.

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