No more free vaccines if supplies run out in Taiwan

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No additional government-funded influenza vaccine doses will be offered if supplies run out. 

No additional government-funded influenza vaccine doses will be offered if supplies run out.  (CNA photo)

The government will not offer additional doses of government-funded influenza vaccines if supplies of free vaccines for vulnerable groups run out, the Centers for Disease Control said Monday (Oct. 12).

This year's government-funded flu vaccine program started Oct. 5, and as of Oct. 11, 1.976 million doses of the vaccine had been administered, up about 15 percent more than the 1.708 million doses given during the same period of last year.

About 6 million free vaccines are available under this year's program to citizens and legal residents of Taiwan for high-risk groups, and another 1.15 million vaccines are available for a fee.

The government urged people to get their vaccines before stocks run out because it is hard to replace inventory.

CDC deputy head Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the government must place vaccine orders with international pharmaceutical firms ahead of the program's launch, and that it is impossible to quickly get more vaccines as stocks run out.

Also, the global COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to the demand for flu vaccines, straining the production capacity of vaccine manufacturers, according to Chuang.

Vulnerable groups eligible for free vaccines include minors ranging from 6 months old to senior high school age; people over the age of 50; those with high-risk chronic, rare and serious diseases or severe injuries; expectant mothers; parents of babies under 6 months old; and employees at childcare centers, according to the CDC.