Because of the country’s subtropical climate, the flu is a year-round epidemic in Taiwan. The annual government-sponsored vaccination program covers 25 percent of the population, which is a remarkable result compared to other countries.
These statistics were posted in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) and caught the attention of staff from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which ranks first in public health in the United States. The American specialists made a trip to Taiwan to learn from the accumulated experience of the government’s large-scale vaccination program so they could better help other countries handle public health emergencies.
Taiwan’s government-sponsored vaccination program has been promoted since 1998, with the priority recipients being senior citizens and those who receive long-term care. Since then, coverage has increased to more people as various methods have been undertaken to increase the vaccination rate.
As a part of Taiwan’s preparation for a possible flu outbreak, the vaccination has been administered on school campuses since 2007. Likewise, the doses of government-sponsored vaccinations have been increased from 180,000 in 1998 to 6,000,000 in 2017. There are also standard operating procedures and coping strategies in place for dealing with adverse reactions or communication problems.
According to research, vaccines can provide 70-90 percent protection for healthy adults, and reduce the severity and complication of flu by 50-60 percent for the elderly. For young children, it can also reduce the rate of hospitalization and related medical costs.
Translated by Audrey, edited by Derek Padula