The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday.
The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines.
People in a line at the clinic on Tuesday told the Liberty Times that they were waiting to be vaccinated.
The clinic was inoculating anyone with a National Health Insurance (NHI) card regardless of vaccination priority, one person told the Liberty Times.
Clinic employees said that the people in line were there for medical tests.
At 10:30pm, an announcement, apparently by a clinic employee, said that the clinic was “out of vaccines” and that people in line should leave.
Prior to yesterday, only three groups of people in Taipei were eligible to receive jabs, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is spokesman for the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a daily briefing.
Giving NHI-covered COVID-19 vaccines to people who are not eligible is a breach of the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), an offense that can be punished with a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$2 million, Chuang said.
At the briefing, the CECC announced additional COVID-19 vaccine priority groups, which include about 3.53 million people in seven categories.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said the revised list of priority groups was finalized at an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
The top three priority groups have only a few minor changes, Chen said, adding that frontline police officers who might be exposed to people under home quarantine or home isolation have been added to the second priority group.
Vaccine production, storage and logistics personnel have also been added to the second priority group, Chen said.
As local governments have some AstraZeneca doses remaining, people in the second and third priority groups in cities and counties other than Taipei and New Taipei City are eligible to get shots, effective immediately, he said.
When the 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by Japan become available next week, people in the top six priority groups would be eligible to be vaccinated, he said.
“The major changes to the list are the fifth and sixth priority groups,” Chen said.
The fifth group is caregivers and residents at long-term care facilities; caregivers and care recipients of at-home or community-based long-term care institutions and disability services; workers at other institutions, including prisons; and people on dialysis, or about 467,000 people, he said.
The sixth priority group is people aged 75 or older, or Aborigines aged 65 or older, which covers about 1.5 million people, Chen said, adding that this group is at higher risk of serious complications and death from COVID-19 infection.
The seventh group is “essential workers for maintaining national security and social operations,” which comprises many occupations, he said.
The CECC has asked authorities to submit detailed criteria — which would need to be approved — for who should be eligible for group seven, he said.
The group includes military personnel; non-military personnel at military establishments and national security agencies; non-frontline police officers; military police; essential workers at key national facilities; transportation, storage and logistics workers; teachers and staff at schools below high-school level; and preschool and nursery caregivers, he said, adding that about 860,000 people would be in group seven.
The first priority group includes registered healthcare workers and other non-healthcare workers at healthcare facilities, which covers about 506,000 people; while the second priority group is central and local government disease prevention personnel, covering about 139,000 people.
The third priority group is frontline workers with high infection risk exposure, such as flight or ship crew members, and disease prevention taxi drivers, covering about 61,000 people.
Only about 2,000 people are in the fourth priority group, mainly diplomats, athletes or contestants representing Taiwan.
Additional reporting by Chiu Chih-jou, Lin Hui-chin and CNA
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
PINGTUNG EXERCISE: The pilots tested their ability to land on the 24m-wide provincial highway, preparing for a scenario in which dedicated airstrips are damaged Emergency landing and takeoff drills for military aircraft were held on a provincial highway for the first time early yesterday as part of Taiwan’s Han Kuang military exercises, testing the ability of pilots and aircraft to land on narrow roads were airstrips to be damaged. The drill began at 6:30am on a 2.26km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 linking Pingtung County’s Jiadong (佳冬) and Fangliao (枋寮) townships. An Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K early warning aircraft participated. The planes landed on the highway in that order at 6:30am, 6:32am, 6:34am and 6:36am before taking off at
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
‘ONE-OFF’ DEAL: Australia would become the only state, after Britain, that the US has helped to build a nuclear fleet, which a White House official called ‘unique’ The US on Wednesday announced a new alliance with Australia and Britain to strengthen military capabilities in the face of a rising China, with Canberra to receive a nuclear submarine fleet and US cruise missiles. US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not mention China in unveiling their alliance, dubbed AUKUS — but their intent was clear, and their announcement prompted fury in Beijing. China yesterday condemned the deal as an “extremely irresponsible” threat to stability in the region. The agreement also left Paris furious, as Australia scrapped a US$40 billion 2016 deal to