The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines — 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca drug — arrived in Taiwan yesterday morning, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said.
The vaccines were flown to Taiwan by Korean Air and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 10:21am, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
“After being cleared by customs, the vaccines have been transported to a designated cold storage center,” Chen said.
“The vaccines are in multidose vials containing 10 doses per bottle, and are being stored in a refrigerated environment of 2°C to 8°C,” he said.
AstraZeneca provided the vaccines under a contract for the purchase of a total of 10 million doses, Chen said, adding that they did not come from the COVAX global distribution platform as some local media had reported.
People are advised to get two doses of the vaccine for better protection, as clinical trials have shown that its efficacy is about 71 percent at 22 days after the first dose, and could increase to 81 percent when the interval between the two doses is 12 weeks, Chen said.
“The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in Taiwan has recommended that the interval between the two doses be at least eight weeks,” he said.
The vaccines will first be offered to healthcare workers, he added.
Front-line healthcare workers who are taking care or conducting tests on confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients would be offered the vaccines first, followed by those who might be indirectly exposed to COVID-19 patients, and lastly, other healthcare personnel, Chen said.
The center plans to offer the first batch of vaccines to 117,000 healthcare workers who are most at risk of infection to build a stronger first line of defense against COVID-19, he said.
“Receiving the first batch of vaccines is very meaningful for Taiwan, because if the front-line healthcare workers at Taoyuan General Hospital had been vaccinated earlier, the cluster infection [from January to last month] would not have occurred,” he said.
Asked if the vaccines could be administered next week, as the Food and Drug Administration had said COVID-19 vaccines with emergency use authorization could be offered as early as seven days after arriving in Taiwan if all required information is provided, Chen said that it would be unlikely.
As it is the first batch of the vaccine to arrive in Taiwan, the review process would be conducted more carefully and would take more time, he said.
CECC specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that people who have severe allergic reactions to vaccines or to certain types of drugs are advised to not get vaccinated.
People who have just been vaccinated are advised to stay at the healthcare facility for a while to observe whether they might have any allergic reactions, he said.
As the first group of people to be vaccinated would be healthcare workers, they should be able to find medical assistance easily, he added.
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth
TAROKO INCIDENT: The committee would regulate how public donations for victims of Friday’s train accident, which have exceeded NT$60 million, would be used The government has collected about NT$60 million (US$2.1 million) in donations through Line Pay and convenience stores for victims of last week’s fatal train accident and plans to establish an oversight committee to determine how the funds should be used to help them, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The accident occurred at 9:28am on Friday, when a southbound Taroko Express train traveling from New Taipei City to Taitung hit a crane truck that had slid down a hill from a nearby construction site onto the rails as the train was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel