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Taipei City health chief offers to resign over vaccine controversy

2021-06-12
Focus Taiwan
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 Huang Shier-Chieg (黃世傑). Image taken from the Facebook page of Mayor Ko Wen-je
Huang Shier-Chieg (黃世傑). Image taken from the Facebook page of Mayor Ko Wen-je

Taipei, June 10 (CNA) A health executive at Taipei City Government offered to resign on Thursday due to a controversy relating to the administration of COVID-19 vaccine doses to ineligible individuals by a clinic in the city.

In a press conference, Taipei City Government Department of Health Commissioner Huang Shier-Chieg said he had already offered his resignation to Mayor Ko Wen-je for his oversight in the city's vaccine distribution.

Huang, however, noted that the distribution of vaccines was handled by his deputy.

Huang's resignation stemmed from the unauthorized administration of more than 1,000 doses of vaccines by Good Liver Clinic over the past few days, in which most recipients were not among the prioritized groups identified by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The clinic got the vaccines from Taipei City Government, which had begun to distribute doses allocated by the central government to medical clinics in the city on May 31.

Taipei City Government has come under fire for giving away vaccine doses to the clinic without verifying its recipients, at a time when thousands of frontline medical workers in Taiwan have yet to receive their shots due to insufficient vaccines.

Ko said he will decide on Huang's resignation after a relevant investigation has been completed.

Sheu Jin-Chuan, chairman of the Good Liver Foundation, which operates the clinic and several others, was seen at the Taipei station of the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau (MJIB) in the evening for initial interrogation about the case.

The foundation admitted in a statement that many of its volunteer workers, security guards, electricians and plumbers, as well as cleaners were inoculated with the vaccine.

This is due to the belief that most medical workers in Taipei have been vaccinated and the vaccine doses were going to expire in August, the foundation said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister and CECC chief Chen Shih-chung said during a press conference earlier in the day that his office has decided to handle the case in accordance with the law and will not cut the allocation of vaccine doses to Taipei City as a form of punishment for the case.

Chen warned in a press conference two days ago that the health ministry would reduce vaccine allocation to localities found violating CECC's priority list for vaccine inoculation.

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