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Influenza Cases are Increasing Due to Colder Weather; Please Take Precautions during the New Year Holidays; Starting from January 1, the Scope of People Eligible for Publicly Funded Vaccines will be Expanded to Include Chronic Patients aged 50 or Under.

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2015-12-29
  • Last Updated:2017-01-10

With the New Year holidays coming this week, people should pay attention to their respiratory hygiene and coughing etiquette when celebrating the New Year or when traveling. People should wear a mask and seek medical attention as soon as possible if they feel flu-like symptoms, in order to protect their health and lower the risk of spreading the influenza virus. 

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of influenza cases in Taiwan has been increasing recently. Last week, there were ten new confirmed cases of severe complicated influenza and two deaths that were confirmed to be related to influenza after investigation. Since the influenza season started on July 1 this year, there have been 173 confirmed cases of severe complicated influenza as of December 28. Out of these cases, 30 patients have passed away. Last week, the percentage of influenza patients receiving outpatient and emergency services increased from the previous week (1.2% and 9.4% respectively), showing an increase compared to numbers from the same period last year (1.1% and 8.8% respectively). The community flu positive rate for Week 49 was 8.5%, which is the same as last week. 

According to statistics from the CDC, there were 99,812 doses of publicly funded influenza vaccines remaining as of December 28 (94,093 0.5mL doses and 5,719 0.25mL doses). Starting from January 1 next year, people on the waiting list for influenza vaccinations will become eligible to receive them. People who are under 50 years of age (calculated from year of birth) and have been assessed by a physician to be eligible for receiving the vaccination, or those who have outpatient or hospitalized records for diabetes, chronic liver disease (including cirrhosis), heart, lung or vascular disease (not including isolated hypertension), kidney disease, or HIV infection may receive publicly funded influenza vaccinations along with the people within the scope of the original plan until the vaccine supply runs out. People who meet the above criteria are recommended to go and receive their vaccinations in a timely manner. People who are not eligible for publicly funded vaccinations may choose to get self-paid vaccinations after assessing the risk to themselves in order to safeguard their health. 

The CDC would like to remind people to pay attention to their hand cleanliness and respiratory hygiene when traveling or participating in activities during the New Year holidays. Avoid public areas with large crowds and poor ventilation. Wear a mask and seek medical attention as soon as possible if you feel flu-like symptoms such as a fever and coughing. If necessary, take publicly funded antiviral drugs under the direction of a physician to safeguard your health and that of your family and friends. For related information, please visit the CDC Homepage (http://www.cdc.gov.tw) or call the domestic toll-free hotline at 1922 (or 0800-001922).