The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said the second phase of government-funded flu vaccinations is to begin today for people 65 years or older and preschool children.
However, only 1,305 local public health centers and medical facilities, excluding Matsu, would provide the service today, as this phase of the program begins when many healthcare facilities are closed, the CDC said.
During the week, eligible vaccine recipients could still be vaccinated at the 4,090 healthcare facilities and public health centers across the nation, the agency added.
The government-funded vaccine this year, which would be provided in three phases to people in higher-risk categories, is a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against two strains of influenza A and two strain of influenza B, it said.
People aged 65 years or older and preschool children are at high risk of developing serious complications from seasonal flu, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.
“Elderly vaccine recipients should bring their National Health Insurance card and national identification card, while parents of young children should bring their Children’s Health Booklet,” he said.
Children under nine years old who are vaccinated against the flu for the first time should get a second dose of the vaccine at least four weeks after the first to ensure better protection, he added.
The CDC has established a specialized flu prevention Web site (https://antiflu.cdc.gov.tw) that provides contact information, addresses and maps, as well as opening hours of healthcare facilities where eligible vaccine receivers can get vaccinated near their homes, Chuang said.
According to CDC disease monitoring statistics, there were 74,157 hospital visits for flu-like symptoms from Nov. 24 to Saturday last week, which was 2.6 percent higher than the week before, and has not reached the epidemic threshold.
Although the weekly number of flu cases is still relatively low, those eligible to receive a vaccine should do so as soon as possible to have better protection before the peak period arrives, the CDC said.
People should also exercise good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, as well as wear a surgical mask and seek medical attention if flu-like symptoms occur, it added.
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