People eligible for government-funded influenza vaccines should get their shot as soon as possible, as more than 90 percent of the doses procured for this flu season have been used and fewer than 300,000 remain, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that 39,676 hospital visits for flu-like illness were reported last week, about 1.3 percent more than the previous week.
However, while the weekly case numbers are rising, they are still lower than the 72,428 visits in the same week last year, Guo said.
Among clustered respiratory infections and flu-like illness reported in the past four weeks, 14 clusters were caused by respiratory syncytial virus infections, he said.
CDC physician Su Chia-ping (蘇家彬) said that since this year’s flu vaccine program started on Oct. 5, more than 5.606 million doses had been administered as of Monday, or about 92.9 percent of the vaccines.
The flu shot coverage rate among people aged 65 or older is 49.8 percent, near the target coverage of 52.5 percent for the age group, while the coverage rate among preschool children aged six months or older is 45.7 percent, also close to the target of 55.5 percent, Su said.
From Tuesday next week, people aged from 50 to 64 who do not have underlying health conditions that bear a higher risk of serious flu complications would again be eligible for government-funded shot, so the stocks are expected to deplete faster next month, he said.
CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that, excluding vaccines reserved for school students and preschool children, there are about 200,000 doses remaining, and another 60,000 expected to arrive next month.
The government-funded vaccines are expected to run out by the middle of next month, he said, adding that eligible people who want to get vaccinated are advised to check the CDC’s dedicated Web site at https://antiflu.cdc.gov.tw and call medical centers to confirm that doses are available before going to get a shot.
In related news, Chuang, who is also the Central Epidemic Command Center’s spokesman, said that Taiwan has paid a deposit for COVID-19 vaccines to the COVAX platform — a global alliance to ensure that members have equitable access to vaccines.
Based on the COVAX mechanism, member countries would receive enough doses to vaccinate 10 to 50 percent of their populations, he said.
As the vaccine requires two shots, Taiwan is expected to secure at least 4.6 million doses — for 10 percent of the population — in the first quarter of next year at the earliest, he said.
‘SMEAR CAMPAIGN’: The ‘Global Times’ accused the DPP of offering politicians in Somaliland bribes and promoting Taiwanese independence by funding US think tanks The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday denounced China’s Global Times for disseminating disinformation about Taiwan, after the Chinese state-run newspaper claimed that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been bribing Somaliland politicians. Taiwan in August last year inaugurated the Taiwan Representative Office in the Republic of Somaliland, which is the nation’s only representative office whose title uses just the name “Taiwan.” The East African country also established a representative office in Taipei, despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations. The Chinese-language Global Times on Monday accused the DPP of offering Somaliland politicians and their families considerable bribes, citing anonymous sources. The International Cooperation
Phase 2 clinical trial results of the Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday were published on the Web site of The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine, in an early preview before publication. The study paves the way for other nations to issue emergency use authorizations or produce the Medigen vaccine, given The Lancet’s credibility as a highly respected medical journal with a rigorous peer-review process, Medigen’s international affairs director Lien Chia-en (連加恩) said. Lien said that the study is important as it proposes methods for converting international units for efficacy comparisons. The methods have been used for correlating the efficacy of hepatitis B
Ambassador Theaters on Tuesday announced that its Breeze Center cinemas in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) would close late this month after screening thousands of major Hollywood movies and local favorites over two decades. Ambassador Theaters, one of the largest cinema chain operators in Taiwan, said that Oct. 25 would be the last day the Breeze Center cinemas screen movies, adding that its lease expires on that day. “We sincerely appreciate the support and recognition from audiences in Taipei over the past 20 years,” the company said. “We look forward to seeing you again in the future.” The cinemas started operating in 2001, upon
BUMPING AROUND: A total of 143 people sustained fall injuries at MRT stations or inside trains over eight months, with a majority caused by ‘distracted walking’ Taipei Rapid Transit Corp yesterday urged people to avoid looking at their phones when walking, saying 73 cases of “distracted walking injuries” had occurred in the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system from January to August. As the local COVID-19 situation has been brought under control, passenger traffic has been increasing, reaching about 1.5 million rides per day last month, the company said. However, many passengers have been looking at their phones as they walk through MRT stations, which can lead to collisions with other passengers or injury from falling down stairs. A total of 143 people sustained fall injuries at MRT stations