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Another 99,600 doses of Moderna vaccine arrive in Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

08/08/2021 04:18 PM

Taoyuan, Aug. 8 (CNA) Taiwan has received another delivery of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine it bought from the American pharmaceutical company, but remains well short of it vaccine needs.

The shipment, containing 99,600 doses, arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at around 3:50 p.m. Sunday on a China Airlines cargo flight that departed from Luxembourg at midnight Saturday.

After being unloaded from the plane, the vaccines were transported to a designated cold storage logistics center for follow-up inspection and sealing operations, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The arrival of the latest shipment comes at a time when Taiwan still finds itself short of vaccines to meet demand, with more than 12.1 million people registered on a centralized online platform to get a shot as of Saturday.

Though the CECC has not provided a breakdown of the numbers, it is believed that a large majority of the 12.1 million are still waiting to get their first shot because registration for a second shot has so far been opened to only a limited number of people.

As of Sunday, just under 37 percent of Taiwan's 23.5 million population had received a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and only 2.1 percent were fully vaccinated with two shots, according to the CECC.

Asked when the new batch of Moderna vaccines will start to be administered and who will be eligible for the shots, CECC head and Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said no decision has been made.

Prior to the arrival of the shipment, Taiwan had only 417,500 AstraZeneca vaccine doses and 637,800 Moderna vaccine doses left.

 



Note: Taiwan's vaccine rollout began on March 22, first with doses from AstraZeneca, then with Moderna doses starting on June 9. More AstraZeneca doses have been administered than have been officially received because medical workers can sometimes get more than the standard 10 shots from a vial.

The latest shipment is part of a 5.05 million dose order Taiwan gave to Moderna on Feb. 8, of which about 1.25 million have now been delivered.

In addition to the Moderna vaccines purchased by Taiwan, the U.S. government also donated 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Taiwan. Japan, meanwhile, donated 3.34 million AstraZeneca brand vaccine doses to the country.

Taiwan has also signed contracts to purchase about 10 million doses of the AZ vaccine directly from the company, and 4.76 million of unspecified brands through the COVAX program, and has received about 2.5 million AZ doses through those arrangements to date.

Another 15 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines doses have been ordered by private entities to help fill the gap, with delivery expected to start in September.

The government has also signed contracts to buy 10 million doses of vaccines from two Taiwanese companies, whose vaccines only recently completely Phase 2 trials.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Chang Ming-hsuan, and Joseph Yeh)

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