Free flu shots to be available nationwide from Oct. 5: CDC

Taipei,  The government will launch its annual free influenza vaccination program on Oct. 5 at hospitals and other medical facilities throughout Taiwan, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said Tuesday.

More than 6 million government-funded flu vaccines will be made available at contracted healthcare institutions around Taiwan after the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend, Chuang told the media in Taipei.

Taiwan normally starts its free vaccination program in October in preparation for flu season, which usually begins in November and peaks around February the following year before slowing down in March.

Free flu vaccines are available to health care workers, pregnant women, people over the age of 50, those with high-risk chronic illnesses, patients with rare or acute diseases, children over the age of six months, and elementary, junior and senior high school students, among others.

During the press briefing, the CDC official was also asked to comment on what might happen when COVID-19 collides with the seasonal flu this fall.

In response, Chuang said seasonal flu and coronavirus are two separate concerns, as the latter can typically be curbed from further spread through strict border controls and quarantine measures.

Citing Australia as an example, he said that while the country is in the midst of winter, flu cases there have so far been relatively low, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This could mean that people are now becoming more cautious of infectious diseases than ever before, he explained.

Regarding concerns that a Hong Kong resident who recently recovered from COVID-19 was re-infected with the virus, the CDC official said it is a solitary case and therefore should not be of any concern to the public.

However, if such cases become more prevalent, it means there is a chance that COVID-19 could become a seasonal virus, like flu, Chuang said.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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