Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Taiwan will be able to start administering the 1.24 million shots of AstraZeneca vaccine it received last week from Japan beginning Saturday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said on Friday.
Inspections of the vaccines were completed in the afternoon and their distribution to local governments will begin later in the evening, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said, adding that some 500,000 vaccine doses will reach their destinations the following morning.
The local governments can decide when they want to start administering the vaccines, and it could be Saturday at the earliest, Chuang said.
The jabs will be made available across a total of 1,526 medical institutions in the country, including hospitals, clinics and public health centers, he said.
Medical personnel, epidemic prevention workers, people in other high-risk jobs as well as seniors 75 years old and over will be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca shots, the CECC official said.
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 agreed to buy 10 million doses of vaccines from two Taiwanese 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.