Two deaths reported as Taiwan enters peak flu season

Taipei-Two people died of seasonal influenza in Taiwan last week, bringing the death toll since Oct. 1, 2019 to 26, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

According to CDC statistics, from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, a total of 113,987 people sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms, of which 79 people were suffering from severe complications associated with the virus.

CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (???) said in the agency's weekly report that the two fatalities involved a 67-year-old woman from northern Taiwan who had an existing cardiovascular condition and a 47-year-old woman from southern Taiwan who had previously suffered from cancer.

Since Oct. 1, type A N1 cases accounted for 456 of patients with severe complications and 22 of the deaths, Lin said.

Lin noted that only three of those who suffered severe complications had been vaccinated, while none of those who died had been vaccinated.

Taiwan's 2019-20 free flu vaccination program opened in November and following its most recent expansion Jan. 1, is open to both minors and those over the age of 50, among others designated as high-risk groups.

Vaccines can also be purchased for between NT$270 (US$8.98) and NT$450 per dose, according to the CDC.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (???) said the government purchased 4.078 million doses of the flu vaccine for this season, of which 1.964 million doses remained as of Jan. 5.

Taiwan's flu season typically starts in October, escalates in November, and peaks around January or February.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel