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Taiwan to begin administering domestic COVID-19 vaccine Aug. 23

ROC Central News Agency

08/11/2021 04:41 PM

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) Taiwan will begin administering a locally-produced COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.

People interested in receiving the vaccine, made by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp., can indicate their willingness to do so on the nationwide vaccination appointment system before 12:00 p.m. Friday, the CECC said.

Official appointments can be booked from 10 a.m. on Aug. 16 to 12 p.m. on Aug. 18 to get the first of two shots, with the appointments to be scheduled for Aug. 23-29.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at Wednesday's CECC press briefing that at least 600,000 doses will be available, but the hope is 800,000 will be available.

Since the Medigen vaccine was added as a choice in the nationwide vaccination appointment system on July 27, 1.06 million people have indicated their willingness to receive the vaccine, Chen said.

Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to the Medigen vaccine on July 19 after an expert panel voted in favor of the move.

 


The decision has been controversial, however, as the Taiwanese vaccine maker has yet to conduct Phase 3 trials which are the standard for determining whether a vaccine offers protection against a particular virus.

Approval was given because the neutralizing antibodies generated in Medigen vaccine recipients compared favorably to those generated in AstraZeneca vaccine recipients, a concept known as immunobridging.

The concept has been discussed internationally, but no consensus or standards have been reached on its use. Taiwan is the first country to use it for COVID-19 vaccine approvals.

To date, a little over 37 percent of Taiwan's 23.5 million population have received their first COVID-19 shot, while 2.2 percent have received the two doses needed to be fully vaccinated, CECC data shows.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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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.



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