The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced today (4/8) that in order to provide more comprehensive protection against influenza for the public, the Executive Yuan has approved that the government-funded influenza vaccinations would be changed from trivalent to quadrivalent vaccines (including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses) starting next flu season.
The government has been funding trivalent vaccines that protect against two strains of influenza A viruses and one strain of influenza B virus. However, virus surveillance data from the past 10 years showed that two lineages of B viruses often co-circulated at the same time. Moreover, the World Health Organization also recommends quadrivalent vaccines as the first choice, which has been adopted by many European countries, the U.S., Japan, Australia, among others. In addition, the cost-benefit analysis of flu vaccination also suggests that quadrivalent vaccines would be a better choice.
Therefore, taking into account the trend of domestic influenza epidemic, vaccination benefits, cost-effectiveness and market supply, the joint meeting of Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Influenza Prevention held in February this year recommended that trivalent vaccines used in the public flu vaccination campaign be replaced by quadrivalent vaccines starting next flu season, if the government budget allows. The project has been approved by the Executive Yuan on April 3, 2019.