CNEWS Convergence News Network reporter Chen Junkai/Reporting from Taipei
This year’s publicly funded influenza vaccine will not be available until October 2, but the domestic influenza epidemic is completely different from the past. It has not retreated in summer and has been rising for three consecutive weeks, with a positivity rate of more than 20%. Huang Yucheng, a professor-level attending physician at the Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, singled out high-risk groups who must get vaccinated because he once treated a young man in his 30s with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 35 who contracted the flu two days later. He became seriously ill and was sent to the emergency room. He was hospitalized for more than a month, all because of type A influenza.
The influenza epidemic is early this year. CDC spokesperson Tsang Shuhui recently pointed out that the current influenza positivity rate has exceeded the epidemic threshold for three consecutive weeks and is expected to rise slowly in the next four weeks. The CDC is placing its hope in the publicly funded influenza vaccine that will be launched on October 2. , hoping that under the protection of vaccines, the epidemic can decline.
This summer’s influenza epidemic did not subside like in previous years, but the number of cases continued to increase from June to August. Huang Yucheng reminded that influenza has become one of the largest “immune debt” effects after the new coronavirus epidemic. In addition to paying attention to the health of children at home, the elderly, patients with chronic diseases, and patients with major injuries and illnesses are all at high risk of death from severe influenza. ethnic groups, calling on those eligible for public funding to receive influenza vaccines as soon as possible.
Huang Yucheng emphasized that in addition to influenza virus, there are currently six or seven other respiratory diseases on the rise, such as respiratory fusion virus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, etc. There are even many clinical patients who have been sick for a whole month. , this is a typical immunity debt, related to insufficient cleaning such as mask lifting and hand washing.
Huang Yucheng said that there were summer flu in China in previous years, but the number of cases was sporadic, but this year it has not stopped throughout the summer. Although compared with before the new crown epidemic, the number of confirmed flu cases this year can only be regarded as “hilly”. It is estimated that this is because most People are still wearing masks for protection, but the number of clinical flu visits has continued to rise. Compared with the previous two years of the COVID-19 epidemic, the trend of flu cases this year has increased significantly.
Regular vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza. Huang Yucheng emphasized that the groups for which the publicly funded vaccine is administered include high-risk and high-transmission groups. Among them, high-risk groups, such as patients with chronic diseases, the elderly and the young, patients with immune deficiencies, and patients with comorbidities ( Such as patients with coronary artery disease, pulmonary lesions, kidney dialysis patients, chemotherapy patients, etc.) are more likely to become severe after being infected with influenza, so be especially careful.
Huang Yucheng said that studies have also confirmed that patients hospitalized with myocardial infarction who receive the influenza vaccine before discharge will have a significantly lower mortality rate than those who have not received the influenza vaccine. In addition, generally healthy adults are also encouraged to receive the publicly funded vaccine according to the availability of the vaccine. In addition to protecting yourself, getting the flu vaccine at your own expense can also reduce the risk of bringing the disease to your elders or children at home.
Taiwan’s largest imported influenza vaccine manufacturer is Sanofi, which provides more than 2 million doses of influenza vaccine to Taiwan for public and self-funded vaccinations every year. Zhan Jingru, general manager of Sanofi’s Hong Kong and Taiwan Vaccine Division, said that this year’s influenza vaccine has arrived in Taiwan in August and has undergone batch inspection and release operations. It will be administered on time in accordance with government policies and will also be supplied to the self-funded market.
Photo source: schematic photo/reproduced from Pexels
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