2019/12/16  
Free flu vaccines delayed to Nov. 15 (2019/10/09)
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  • 英文 English 
    Free flu vaccines delayed to Nov. 15 (2019/10/09)

    October is typically the month for flu shots, but not this year. The government's free inoculation program will start later than usual on November 15, due to a projected delay in the annual winter flu outbreak. Taiwan Centers for Disease Control says that going by the current outbreak patterns, they predict the winter flu season will arrive in January, later than its arrival in the past two years.

    Between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, hospitals reported more than 70,000 emergency room visits due to flu-like symptoms. That same week, there were 16 school-based cluster infections. Over the past four weeks, disease clusters at the community level were dominated by subtype H1N1 of influenza A. The numbers indicate a delay in the summer flu season that will delay the winter flu season, according to Taiwan CDC.

    Philip Lo
    CDC deputy director-general
    Due to a delay in the summer flu season, we predict that the winter flu season will arrive later as well. Based on our rough estimates, it won't be until January of next year that the epidemic season begins. That's later than it's been the past two years. It's possible that flu cases won't peak until after Spring Festival.

    In light of the late arrival, Taiwan CDC plans to postpone its flu vaccination program by one month. Starting Nov. 1, free flu shots will be provided to children from primary school to senior high, as well as medical personnel. From Dec. 8, there will be free shots for seniors 65 or older and children before school age. Shots for other demographics will start Jan. 1. Some physicians fear that the delay could leave vulnerable groups still vulnerable to dangerous viruses.

    Huang Li-min
    Pediatrics department director
    The H3N2 virus could be an important strain to watch in the Northern Hemisphere this winter. H3N2 has relatively fast rate of mutation. Once mutated, it spreads fast and becomes a relatively large outbreak. It could cause more severe illnesses and deaths.
    Taiwan CDC says that with a late start to the flu season, its revised vaccination schedule will provide optimal disease protection.
    中文 Chinese  
    公費疫苗11月接種 醫生憂太晚打 讓疫情嚴重

    儘管已經進入秋冬,但夏季流感才要尾聲,疾管署預估,冬季流感流行期也將延到明年一月才開始,公費四架疫苗因此延後到11月才開始分批接種。不過,醫生黃立民卻擔心,一月有春節返鄉、出遊人潮、加上春節後開學,太晚打疫苗,保護力來不及產生,會讓疫情更嚴重。

    10月初,類流感門急診超過7萬人次,其中校園流感群聚有16起,與近4週社區群聚,都以A型H1N1為主。因夏季流感延後,疾管署預估,會讓冬季流感延後。

    [[疾管署副署長 羅一鈞]]
    "夏季流感延遲結束的關係,我們推估今年冬天流感疫情也會比較晚才開始,目前粗略預估,明年1月份才會進入流行期,可能會比過去2年更晚,所以也有可能說流感的高峰會落到春節之後才出現。"

    因冬季流感流行高峰期將延後,四價公費流感疫苗,也因此晚1個月開打,從11月15日分批接種,國小至高中生、醫事人員優先,12月8日起為65歲以上長者及學齡前幼兒,其他公費對象,則要等到明年1月1日起。有醫師擔心延後施打,會讓保護力來不及產生。

    [[台大醫院小兒部主任 黃立民]]
    "H3N2有可能是在今年北半球冬季要注意的一支病毒,H3N2一向是突變比較快,當它突變成功以後,它就會早流行,流行會比較大,會造成比較多人重症跟死亡。"

    疾管署要大家安心,儘管冬季流感延後,民眾只要依照時程盡速接種,就能在流感高峰期前獲得保護力。

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