Taipei, June 9 (CNA) Taiwan will soon start administering the 1.24 million shots of AstraZeneca vaccine it received last week from Japan, and seniors 75 years old and over will be included in the categories of eligible people, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
After the inspection and tests are completed, distribution of the vaccines to local governments will begin June 12, and administration of the shots will start June 15, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung, who also heads the CECC.
The 1.24 million vaccine doses, which were donated by Japan, will also be administered to residents and workers at long-term care facilities and kidney dialysis patients, Chen said.
Medical personnel, epidemic prevention workers, and people in other high-risk jobs will also be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca shots, he said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan began rollout of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, giving priority to medical workers at hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated.
Taiwan has signed contracts to purchase nearly 20 million vaccines from abroad, including 5.05 million doses of Moderna, 10 million of AstraZeneca, and 4.76 million doses of unspecified brands through the COVAX program.
It has also signed contracts to buy 10 million doses of vaccines from two domestic companies.
To date, Taiwan has received 150,000 doses of Moderna and over 1.9 million doses of AstraZeneca -- 1.24 million donated by Japan and 726,600 purchased from the manufacturer and through COVAX.
As of Wednesday, 730,331 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Taiwan, a country with a population of 23 million.