MSD donates rotavirus drugs via TVGH to children charities
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan branch of Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) recently donated 1,800 doses of the rotavirus vaccine (oral and pentavelent) to five children's charity organizations via the Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH).
January 13, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
The donation by MSD, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, will benefit up to 600 babies and children.
MSD Taiwan's donation comes following efforts by Wu Tzee-chung, chief of the division of gastroenterology and nutrition under the Department of Pediatrics, TVGH, to solicit free rotavirus vaccines to help disadvantaged children stave off the illness.
The five organizations receiving free RotTeq vaccines from MSD Taiwan are the Cathwel Service, the Christian Salvation Service, the Reindeer Children Home, the Garden of Mercy Foundation and Emergency Children Placement Home in Taoyuan County.
Rotavirus is a virus that can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever and dehydration. It is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants and young children, with infections most common in winter and spring. The virus spreads easily among other children. It takes about two days for a child to become sick after they have been initially infected.
Wu said that though the rotavirus is highly contagious, taking rotavirus vaccines within eight months of a child's birth increases their chance of not being infected.
The vaccine, however, is quite expensive. Each dose costs NT$2,000. Normally, a child receives three doses of the vaccine, at a total cost of NT$6,000. Children's charity organizations may have a difficult time paying such costs.
Wu has actively solicited free vaccines from various sources, including MSD Taiwan.
MSD Taiwan President Liu Si-ya said the firm decided to donate vaccines after learning that children in charity organizations were in need of help, adding that the firm hopes the move will inspire more people and groups to care for disadvantaged children.
Meanwhile, W.J. Soong, director of the Department of Pediatrics at TVGH, said taking care of disadvantaged children has been his team's goal and it is imperative for them to prevent massive rotavirus infections among children during seasonal changes.