The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month.
The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei.
In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8 million people have signed up, while Taiwan has received more than 8.9 million doses, Su said.
Thanks to the efforts of local governments, vaccination coverage reached 23.5 percent as of Wednesday, with more than 5.67 million people having received at least one dose, he added.
Yesterday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said that the rate had reached 24.35 percent.
The original target of 25 percent coverage by the end of this month is likely to be attained ahead of schedule, Su said, adding that the government now hopes to reach 30 percent.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei branch of Sankei Shimbun
More vaccine options are to be added on the registration site as soon as they arrive, he added, encouraging people to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation on Wednesday agreeded to buy 5 million doses of BioNTech’s vaccine, which paired with similar purchases by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密)-affiliated Yonglin Foundation, has brought contributions by private donors to 15 million doses, Su said.
These donations are the “most selfless contribution to the nation,” he said, extending his gratitude to the organizations on the government’s behalf.
With Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s (高端疫苗) vaccine receiving emergency use authorization, new progress in obtaining vaccines is being made every week, he said.
Su also thanked the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Food and Drug Administration and other experts for their hard work in safeguarding the nation’s health through science and professionalism.
In related news, a group of 88 businesses and organizations yesterday took out a full-page advertisement in Sankei Shimbun to thank Japan for its vaccine donations and to express their support on the eve of the Tokyo Olympic Games’ opening ceremony.
The newspaper ad features a Formosan black bear and the Japanese folk hero Momotaro competing on the same tug-of-war team, with text saying that Taiwan will never forget Japan’s friendship during the pandemic.
Japan has donated 3.34 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan in three batches since June 4.
The Taiwan-Japan Cultural and Economic Association, which initiated the campaign, was founded in 1952 to facilitate exchanges between the two nations and boasts more than 200 members.
The US has also donated 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Taiwan.
Lithuania last month pledged to donate 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan, while Slovakia last week also pledged to donate 10,000 vaccine doses to Taiwan through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, with the vaccine brand to be determined.
CLOSED FOR DISINFECTION: Two of the three local cases were linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten, while the other case works at a McDonald’s restaurant The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported three new local COVID-19 infections and 11 imported cases, but no deaths. The local cases are two men and a woman aged between 20 and 80 who reside in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the CECC said in a news release. Two of them are linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. He said they are both associated with the mother of a kindergarten student, who was earlier confirmed to have
BIOLOGICAL AGENT: A containment exercise was held in southern Tainan, in response to a mock assault where troops were assumed to be attacked by bioweapons The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, Taiwan’s major war games involving all military branches, began yesterday morning and is to run until Friday to test the armed forces’ capability to fend off a Chinese invasion. The 37th edition of the annual event officially began after the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operations Command Center, also known as the Hengshan Command Center, announced the initiation of the five-day live-fire drills. Yesterday’s drills were focused on testing the military’s preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities in the event of a full-scale Chinese invasion. As part of the drills, air force
‘RAISING TAIWAN’S VISIBILITY’: Premier Su Tseng-chang said changing TECRO’s name to include ‘Taiwan’ would make the representative office more recognizable The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday declined comment on a Financial Times report that the name of Taiwan’s representative office in Washington might be changed, saying only that bolstering and upgrading ties with the US has been the government’s long-term objective. The ministry made the comments after the UK-based newspaper reported on that US President Joe Biden’s administration is considering allowing the government to use the word “Taiwan” in the office’s title. The US is “seriously considering a request from Taiwan to change the name of its mission in the US capital from ‘Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office’ [TECRO] to ‘Taiwan
WELCOME BACK: Foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese can now directly apply for a visa with representative offices overseas, the CECC said Regulations on applications for entry to the nation by foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese have been relaxed effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported two new local and three imported cases of COVID-19. Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center, said the relaxation meant that such applications would be treated as general cases, instead of special ones that are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. “Considering the recent local COVID-19 situation and the needs of foreign spouses and children to visit their family in Taiwan, we are allowing Taiwan’s