CDC urges public to get flu vaccine starting November 15Date：2019-11-15
The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) launched this year’s government-funded seasonal influenza vaccination campaign on November 15. The campaign will be carried out in three stages, with elementary through high school students and healthcare workers as target groups in the first phase. The campaign press conference was attended by Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), the Deputy Health Minister Ho Chi-kung (何啟功), Dr. Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) of the National Taiwan University Hospital, head nurse Lin Pei-yi (林佩宜) of Taipei City Hospital, and celebrity Tina Yen (嚴立婷). Together they called on eligible groups to get their free shots to protect their own health and that of their friends and family. To encourage influenza vaccination, Dr. Lee and head nurse Lin received injections at the conference as a demonstration.
At the press conference, Vice Premier Chen noted that a total of six million flu vaccines will be offered this year. Different from the trivalent vaccine used in previous years, the quadrivalent vaccine offered this year provides more comprehensive protection against influenza. Vice Premier Chen also urged people eligible for free vaccines to get a flu shot to prepare for this year’s flu season.
It’s been challenging to carry out the vaccination program in three phases this year because the delivery of quadrivalent influenza vaccines was delayed across the globe, said the Deputy Health Minister Ho. He thanked the medical, school, and community personnel for their joint effort in promoting vaccination uptake to support public health.
This year, the program prioritizes students and medical practitioners for vaccination. As flu epidemics often start in schools and spread to family members, especially children and the elderly whose immune system is weaker, the high-risk groups can be protected from seasonal flu with school vaccination. As for medical practitioners, those who get sick can spread the flu to patients easily because of direct contact, and result in healthcare workforce shortage, explained Dr. Lee.
Dr. Lee then pointed out that students may be feeling faint and nauseous after getting vaccinated. Instead of side effects caused by vaccination, such feelings are usually physical reactions to the fear of shots and anxiety; therefore, parents do not need to worry too much. To prepare for a vaccine, schools should explain to students the process and make sure students eat before vaccination. It’s recommended that schools play music, video, or chat with students to help them relax while waiting for vaccination. Students will be seated during vaccination. If one experiences dizziness or fainting after a flu shot, one should rest until he/she feels better, suggested Dr. Lee.
Tina Yen, a Taiwanese actress and mother of two, stressed the importance of vaccination at the press conference. She mentioned that from time to time students in her son’s class would need to take sick leaves because of the flu, or there would be classes suspended because of cluster infections. To protect her children from the flu, she has let her son get vaccinated at school every year and plans on taking her two-year-old daughter to get a flu shot in the hospital this year.
Taiwan CDC once again reminds the public that the most effective way to avoid getting the flu is vaccination. Students can receive vaccination for free on campus; parents will be given an information sheet on flu vaccination and should encourage their children to receive the vaccination.
For more information, please visit the Taiwan CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov.tw, or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922)