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Taiwan plans to start BioNTech vaccine rollout in mid-September

ROC Central News Agency

09/01/2021 07:13 PM

Taipei, Sept. 1 (CNA) The rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Taiwan can begin as early as mid-September, after the first shipment arrives in the country on Thursday, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).

A flight carrying the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in the early hours of Thursday, Chen said at a press briefing Wednesday, but he did not provide details on the carrier or number of doses to be delivered.

Because samples have been sent to Taiwan for inspection, Chen said it is possible that the rollout of the vaccine can begin in mid-September, and more shipments are likely in the coming weeks.

A total of 15 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were procured and donated to the government by three private entities -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Hon Hai Precision Co.'s YongLin Charity and Education Foundation, and the religious group Tzu Chi Foundation.

The government plans to first give the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people 12-17 years of age, Chen said Tuesday.

People 18-22 years of age will be the next group of recipients, if they register for the brand of the vaccine through the government vaccination website, according to the minister.

If the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines picks up, the rollout will be expanded to other age groups, Chen said Wednesday.

According to the data released Wednesday by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), 5.35 million people who have registered for a COVID-19 vaccine have yet to get their first shot, while 3.31 million have indicated their willingness to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

To date, 42.77 percent of Taiwan's 23.5 million population have received at least a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since the rollout began on March 22, CECC data released Wednesday showed.

However, only 920,962, or 3.9 percent of the population, had obtained the two doses required to be fully vaccinated.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chiang Hui-chun and Kay Liu)



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