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Taiwan one step away from AstraZeneca vaccine distribution: CECC

ROC Central News Agency

03/10/2021 06:23 PM

Taipei, March 10 (CNA) The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Taiwan received last week have to pass just one more test, as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), before distribution can begin, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.

The vaccine doses have already passed six of the seven checks in the FDA's inspection process, with only the sterility test remaining, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said at a press briefing in Taipei.

Once the final test is completed, distribution of the vaccine will begin, Chen said, without giving a timeline.

On March 3, Taiwan received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, comprising 117,000 AstraZeneca doses, which would be administered as a first dose to the same number of people, Chen had said earlier.

Priority will be given to medical personnel and other frontline workers who directly test or take care of COVID-19 patients, and then to hospital staff who do not have direct contact with COVID-19 patients being treated at the facility, Chen said.

Taiwan has signed contracts to purchase a total of 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, and 4.76 million doses of vaccines through COVAX.

COVAX had said it would allocate 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan in its first round of distribution, but it has not yet informed Taiwan when those will arrive.

Taiwan is also currently in talks with the German firm BioNTech to purchase 5 million doses of its vaccine, after an earlier deal fell through last December.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Yu Hsiao-han, Chiang Yi-ching)

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