The Outbreak Observatory is conducting a pilot observation in Taipei, Taiwan. We have coordinated with colleagues at the Taiwan CDC to observe their annual seasonal influenza mass vaccination campaign. This post covers events from Friday, October 20.

Today marked our final day observing Taiwan CDC’s mass influenza vaccination campaign, and to close out the week, we had the privilege of attending one of the bi-weekly influenza vaccination program update meetings. During this meeting, which is chaired by the Taiwan CDC Director-General, each region in Taiwan reports progress in attaining their vaccination coverage goals for this year’s priority groups. The group discusses successes and challenges thus far in the vaccination campaign, focusing on the progress made nationally for individual priority groups and overall progress made for the 6 regions and 22 local health bureaus.

While Taiwan is only 20 days into this year’s vaccination campaign, they have made impressive progress toward reaching their 2017 coverage goals, having already administered 44% of the 6 million doses acquired for this flu season. Notably, they are ahead of their progress goals for adults age 65 years and older and healthcare workers/public health workers, and they are ahead of where they were at this time last year in the majority of the priority groups. These coverage rates reflect the thorough planning and hard work of the many individuals we met this week, including those who transport, document, and store the vaccine from the manufacturer; the health station personnel and school presidents who coordinate and direct school vaccination events; the clinic staff who administer the vaccine and respond to adverse events; and of course, the Taiwan CDC staff who dedicate months to successfully implementing the national vaccination program.

Looking ahead, the Outbreak Observatory project team will conduct a thorough analysis of our observations and the information we collected this week, with the goal of sharing Taiwan’s experience and lessons learned with the broader public health and preparedness communities. Vaccination is a key public health tool for controlling seasonal influenza and numerous other communicable diseases, and it has a potential role in responding to outbreaks and epidemics.