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Taiwan expands rollout of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

2021-06-13
Focus Taiwan
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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Picture from FDA)
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Picture from FDA)

Taipei, June 12 (CNA) Taiwan is expanding the rollout of its Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to cover everyone listed at the top of the vaccination priority list, including non-medical personnel at government quarantine centers, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Saturday.

A total of 75,000 doses were distributed Wednesday to hospitals looking after COVID-19 patients, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a daily briefing in Taipei.

Chen, who also heads the CECC, said they were administered to un-vaccinated medical workers who are first and second on the priority list.

As of Friday, 24,869 people had received a dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Starting Saturday, Chen said the rollout of the remaining 75,000 doses will be expedited to other licensed physicians at hospitals and clinics, and non-medical personnel at medical institutions as well as government quarantine centers.

The first batch of 150,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Taiwan on May 28. They were the first of 5.05 million vaccine doses Taiwan has purchased from Moderna.

Asked if the CECC would allow those whose first dose was the Moderna vaccine to switch to the AstraZeneca vaccine for the second dose, Chen said mixing vaccines is not an option and advised against the idea. However, that option could be made available to those who exhibit adverse allergic reactions to the first jab of the Moderna vaccine, he said, citing several reports from abroad in which some who received an mRNA vaccine experienced adverse events such as myocarditis.

Chen's response on Saturday also came after some medical workers in Taiwan expressed a desire to take the Moderna vaccine as their second shot after having received a first jab of AstraZeneca.

At the press event, the health minister said that in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, the 30-minute observation time people have to remain at hospitals after receiving their vaccine shot will be cut to 15 minutes.

He advised anyone taking a COVID-19 vaccine to self-monitor their health at home and call for medical help if they exhibit a prolonged fever for 48 hour or show any symptoms of serious allergies.

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