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Taiwan receives another 524,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

ROC Central News Agency

08/12/2021 06:10 PM

Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) Taiwan on Thursday received another shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine it purchased last year, raising the number of vaccine doses it has taken delivery of from overseas to 10 million.

The latest 524,000 vaccine doses arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at around 3:25 p.m. Thursday on a China Airlines cargo flight that departed from Thailand earlier that day.

The vaccine, which expires on Dec. 31, will be inspected by Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration before it can be distributed for use, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Speaking at a press briefing, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said the CECC has not yet determined for who the vaccine will be reserved.

The CECC would like to allow people under 38 years of age who have registered on the government's online system to receive their first vaccine shot, said Chen, who also heads the CECC.

However, the CECC also needs to ensure those who received their first AstraZeneca shots at least 10 weeks ago can get the second jab they need to be fully vaccinated against the disease, Chen added.

Currently, only people who are on the government's vaccination priority list due to being at a higher risk of COVID-19 or considered vulnerable, as well as those who are 38 years old and above have access to a vaccine in Taiwan.

When a vaccine is available, they are required to book an appointment via the government system.

According to the CECC, the latest delivery is part of a 10 million dose order Taiwan made with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company on Oct. 30, 2020, of which about 2.41 million doses have been delivered.

To date, Taiwan has taken delivery of a combined 10.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for its population of 23.5 million, including 6.37 million produced by AstraZeneca and 3.74 million manufactured by Moderna, an American pharmaceutical company, CECC data showed.

Those have come directly from the manufacturers, the global vaccine sharing program COVAX, or from donations by other countries.

(By Lai Yu-chen and Teng Pei-ju)

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