Taiwan: Influenza mass vaccination program spotlighted in US health journal

29 Sep, 2018
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Taiwan’s annual influenza mass vaccination program received praise for its scope, effectiveness and capacity for strengthening pandemic preparedness in an article published recently by the American Journal of Public Health.
The report was compiled by researchers from Baltimore-based John Hopkins Center for Health Security in cooperation with counterparts at the Centers for Disease Control under the Ministry of Health and Welfare. It comprised a data and observational review of Taiwan’s yearly influenza program in 2017 to identify lessons that can be applied to mass vaccination planning in the U.S. and elsewhere.
According to the article, Taiwan’s centrally administered and financed program mitigates the impacts of influenza while preparing health officials and clinicians for the operational challenges posed by emergency mass vaccinations. The study also highlighted the strengths of Taiwan’s protocols in areas spanning ensuring adequately trained personnel, enhancing adverse event prevention and surveillance, and increasing vaccine coverage.
Taiwan’s achievements provide unique lessons that may be beneficial to health departments desiring to improve both seasonal vaccination efforts and pandemic readiness, the report concludes.
Titled “Taiwan’s Annual Seasonal Influenza Mass Vaccination Program—Lessons for Pandemic Planning,” the article appeared Sept. 7 in a supplement issue of AJPH, which is published by the Washington-based American Public Health Association. It was the pilot case study under the Outbreak Observatory project launched by the John Hopkins center.
Launched in 1998 and overseen by the CDC, Taiwan’s national seasonal influenza vaccination program initially provided free services to individuals aged 65 or older with specific high-risk comorbidities and residents or staff in long-term care facilities. It has since been expanded to priority groups spanning individuals aged 50 years or older, preschool-aged children, and people working in high-risk environments like the health care and poultry industries.
The number of doses purchased for the influenza program increased from 180,000 in 1998 to around 6 million in 2017, covering around 25 percent of the country’s population, according to the CDC. In 2007, the campaign was incorporated into the national pandemic preparedness plan. (CPY-E)
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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 29th, 2018 at 9:48 am and is filed under Latest News.

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