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Taiwan president, vice president receive second local COVID-19 vaccine shots

ROC Central News Agency

09/30/2021 12:10 PM

Taipei, Sept. 30 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) both received a second shot of the domestically produced Medigen COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday morning, as part of the government's efforts to encourage people to take the locally-made jabs.

More than a month after they received their first shot of the same brand on Aug. 23 and Aug. 27, respectively, both Tsai and Lai took their second Medigen shots at the College of Medicine's gym at National Taiwan University, one of the mass vaccination sites in Taipei.

Tsai took her jab first at around 7:15 a.m. followed by Lai at around 7:45 am.

The vaccination process for both national leaders was opened to the press with the cameras following them as they had their temperature checked, filled in the patient information form, and was asked by doctors if they had experienced any discomfort after their first shot. Both answered no.

After receiving their second shot, Tsai and Lai both displayed their yellow vaccination cards and posed for photos with the doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel.

Medigen is the only domestic company so far to have received emergency use authorization (EUA) in Taiwan for its COVID-19 vaccine, which has been administered in Taiwan since August.

The Central Epidemic Command Center has set an interval of about 28 days between the two Medigen doses.

The locally-made vaccine had stirred controversy even before its rollout, as it was granted EUA in July even though it had not yet gone to Phase 3 clinical trials. Medigen claimed the vaccine was effective, basing their conclusion on immunobridging studies in which the amount of antibodies generated by people who took the vaccine were compared with those who took the widely-used AstraZeneca vaccine.

Though there has been some doubt over whether immunobridging studies can be used to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine, Medigen has said that countries including Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom have also been conducting vaccine clinical trials based on the method, instead of going through traditional placebo-controlled disease endpoint trials.

So far, more than 700,000 people in Taiwan have received their first shot of the Medigen vaccine, and around 55,000 have signed up to receive it and no other vaccine, but those figures are significantly lower than that of the other types of vaccines available in Taiwan, including Pfizer-BNT, even though that vaccine only became available this month.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Joseph Yeh)

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