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CDC to distribute additional flu shots to seniors

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that given an existing supply of 182,700 influenza shots, the centers will release publicly funded flu vaccines next year for citizens between the ages of 50 and 59 years old who have cardiovascular diseases or diabetes.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hau (周志浩) said influenza usually strikes between December and March, noting that an influenza vaccine will become effective two weeks after it is administered.

Chou went on to say that the CDC has purchased over 3 million influenza vaccines this year, and since the government released the vaccines this past October, over 2.7 million people have received the vaccine.

The CDC said that 14 people have been diagnosed with influenza last week, 11 of them with the H3N2 strain, and three with the H1N1 strain; two of 14 patients died from the influenza type A strain H3N2, and none of the 14 individuals in the cases had received flu vaccines.

The CDC elaborated on the two fatal cases, saying that one of the patients, a 66-year-old citizen from New Taipei, had a medical history of diabetes and epilepsy and was sent to a hospital on Aug. 12. He died on Sept. 7 from pneumonia and acute respiratory failure.

The other fatality was a 35-year-old man who lived in Kaohsiung City, the CDC said, which noted that he developed flu symptoms on Dec. 12 and died nine days after he was sent to a hospital. The authorities said that although the man did not have any history of chronic diseases, he was addicted to amphetamine and ketamine.

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