Expert Estimates 4 Million People Getting Flu in Taiwan 專家示警A型流感大年 估恐4百萬人感染

Influenza experts are concered about the flu season this year, estimating that up to 4 million people could be infected in Taiwan.

With fall and winter coming, so is the arrival of flu season. Clinics have recorded that the number of patients seeking treatment for fever, cough and other respiratory symptoms have gone up. Most of them have been tested negative for COVID-19, which means they probably have the flu. 

Chan Chien-chun, Clinic doctor: “There is a new concept called the "immunity debt." The flu is not the main concern these years so flu vaccinations have been put off.  Thus, many people have low levels of antibodies against the flu.”

The latest wave of COVID-19 is expected to reach its height in Taiwan by Sept. 21, but doctors worry more about the flu. The Centers for Disease Control discovered that three weeks into September, 80 out of the 89 cases of influenza are Type A. The CDC predicted Influenza A to be the trend for this year. As "immunity debt" builds up, health experts predict that 4 million people may get the flu in Taiwan. 

Huang Li-min, Honorary Chair, Infectious Diseases Society of Taiwan: “I estimate about 20 to 25 percent of the population would get the flu this year, and it is very likely for people to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. The combination of the two would intensify the symptoms by 30 percent.”

Health expert Huang Li-min said that the flu peak season usually falls in November, but the peak is expected to be earlier this year. With Taiwan's border control further relaxing, doctors are calling out to the public, advising especially high-risk groups to get their flu shots as soon as possible. Starting Oct. 1, the government-funded quadrivalent influenza vaccination will become available.