Taiwan CDC offers free H5N1 vaccine to high risk individuals wishing to get vaccinated from March to August, 2013 ( 2013-03-05 )
As outbreaks of H5N1 continue to occur worldwide, the threat of a pandemic lingers. From March 1 to August 31, 2013, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) is offering free H5N1 vaccines to high risk individuals who wish to receive the vaccine. Taiwan CDC urges quarantine personnel, medical and healthcare personnel and people who frequently visit areas at risk for H5N1 influenza infection to get vaccinated against H5N1.
Taiwan CDC pointed out that initially there was only poultry-to-poultry transmission of H5N1 virus. Over the recent years, due to genetic mutations, a few cases of H5N1 resulted from poultry to human transmission have occurred. According to the data provided the World Health Organization (WHO), since 2003, a cumulative total of 620 cases of human infection with H5N1 have been confirmed worldwide, including 367 deaths, resulting in a mortality rate of about 59%. As of February 28, 2013, a total of 12 confirmed cases of human infection with H5N1 have been reported in countries, including Cambodia, China and Egypt. On the other hand, in 2012, highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus was detected in pet birds smuggled to Taiwan. To protect people in Taiwan against H5N1, Taiwan CDC began stockpiling human H5N1 vaccine in 2006 and started implementing a H5N1 vaccination campaign targeting high risk individuals in 2007. As of now, a cumulative total of 39,453 vaccines have been administered.
Taiwan CDC recommends quarantine personnel, medical and healthcare personnel, animal quarantine personnel, customs personnel, airport and port security personnel, and coast guards who are aged 18 and above and people who frequently visit areas at risk for avian influenza infection to receive the H5N1 vaccine. The free H5N1 influenza vaccine provided by Taiwan CDC is available for administration at all contracted travel medicine outpatient clinics, all general hospitals under the Department of Health and the local health centers in each city and country. Those who wish to receive the vaccine will only be charged registration and diagnostic fees for the vaccination. However, the vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnant women.
For any questions or further information, please call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Care Hotline, 1922, or 0800-024582 if calling from a cell phone, or visit the Taiwan CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw.