The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday confirmed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorization for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from three factories, adding that it could be administered in about seven days after arrival in Taiwan.
FDA Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said the agency approved the vaccine yesterday morning.
The vaccines could be administered as soon as seven days after they arrive in Taiwan, if all the required information is provided, but it could take up to 40 days if the factories provide incomplete documentation, she said.
Photo courtesy of the Chiayi County Government via CNA
At the CECC’s news conference in the afternoon, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the vaccines must pass through three “checkpoints” before they can be administered to the public.
First, the vaccine must be determined to be effective, which it has since it received FDA approval, he said.
Second, vaccine manufacturing facilities must meet the required standards, he said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said that AstraZeneca vaccine factories in Germany, South Korea and Italy have been approved to export vaccines to Taiwan.
Third, the quantity and quality of the imported vaccines would be reviewed to ensure they are correct, Chen said.
“After the vaccines arrive, we will review the documents that the factories provide, but if they do not provide all the required documents for review, we will have to conduct examinations, which will take longer,” he said.
Asked to comment on reports in France and Sweden of health workers experiencing adverse effects possibly linked to the AstraZeneca jab, Chen said that the CECC is closely monitoring such reports and how health authorities respond to them.
However, there have been more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered in the UK, and so far reports of adverse effects following vaccination have been limited, he said.
Taiwan would continue to follow the WHO expert group’s recommendation for the use of the vaccine — approved for all people 18 and older and also in settings where new variants of the virus are circulating — while monitoring the latest developments, he said.
Although reports of adverse events related to vaccines in other countries might cause public concern, Taiwan does not force the public to be vaccinated, and the center’s specialists would make the best recommendations according to scientific evidence, Chen said.
Meanwhile, the CECC yesterday reported one new imported case of COVID-19, a Filipino in his 20s who arrived in Taiwan on Feb. 3.
He stayed in a hotel with no symptoms, and tested positive in a paid test at a hospital on Thursday after ending quarantine, Chen said.
MAKING A MOVE: Starting on Monday, short-term business travelers can apply for shorter quarantine periods, while transits of up to eight hours would be allowed The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced an easing of restrictions that would from Monday next week allow foreigners to visit or make a transit flight in Taiwan. A policy allowing short-term business travelers from countries with low or medium risks of COVID-19 infections to apply for shorter quarantine periods is also to resume that day. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that while the autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program is to be extended after the end of this month, special conditions for foreign nationals to enter Taiwan would be restored from Monday. Foreign nationals
‘UNFRIENDLY’: COA Minister Chen Chi-chung said that Beijing probably imposed the sanction because the pineapple production season is about to start in Taiwan More than 99 percent of pineapples sold to China passed inspections, the government said yesterday, after China earlier in the day abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from the nation, which Taipei called an “unfriendly” move. From Monday, China is to stop importing pineapples from Taiwan, the Chinese General Administration of Customs said. The regulation is a normal measure for ensuring biosafety, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said in a news release later yesterday. Since last year, Chinese customs officials have repeatedly seized pineapples imported from Taiwan that carried “perilous organisms,” Ma said. Were the organisms to spread in China, they would
CONTINUED VIGILANCE: People would still be required to wear masks at eight types of public spaces and border controls would continue, Chen Shih-chung told reporters The government’s autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program is to continue beyond Sunday, but eating and drinking on high-speed trains would be allowed from Monday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that while there were no new confirmed cases in Taiwan yesterday, the global COVID-19 situation remains serious, so the autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program would be extended beyond its Sunday deadline. “Border control measures, including requiring a negative polymerase chain reaction test result obtained within three days of boarding a plane to Taiwan, and undergoing quarantine in a
MORE RISK? Three Taiwanese family members were found to have the Brazilian variant, which CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo said might be more infectious From Wednesday, all travelers who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days are required to be quarantined at a centralized facility after arriving in Taiwan and undergo a COVID-19 test upon ending quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that starting from 12am on Wednesday, all travelers arriving from Brazil, including those who have transited through the country in the past 14 days, would have to stay at a centralized quarantine facility. “They will be tested for COVID-19 upon completing the 14-day quarantine, and they