CORONAVIRUS/First batch of Pfizer's COVID-19 pills to reach Taiwan soon

01/24/2022 08:20 PM
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Image taken from Pfizer
Image taken from Pfizer's website

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) Taiwan will receive a first batch of Pfizer's COVID-19 pill Paxlovid before the Lunar New Year holiday begins on Jan. 29, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Monday after the arrival of a shipment of another COVID-19 pill earlier in the day.

Taiwan has purchased 20,000 courses of Pfizer's antiviral drug and the first batch is likely to arrive before the holiday, Chen said.

Earlier Monday, 2,016 courses of the antiviral pill molnupiravir made by American drugmaker Merck & Co. arrived in Taiwan, with the remainder of the 5,040 courses ordered to arrive after the Lunar New Year holiday, Chen said.

Taiwan had planned to purchase 10,000 courses or more of molnupiravir but decided to order 5,040 courses and buy 20,000 doses of Pfizer's Paxlovid due to different terms and conditions of use of the two pills, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Taiwan is the second country in the Asia-Pacific region to receive its supply of molnupiravir, after Singapore, according to CECC official Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳).

According to the CECC, the molnupiravir pills will be distributed in batches to designated hospitals responsible for the care of COVID-19 patients in government quarantine facilities and enhanced quarantine hotels.

Meanwhile, the delivery of a batch of roughly 1.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine slated to arrive in Taiwan on Monday has been postponed, likely by two days, the CECC said.

The flight they were scheduled to be on was delayed by potential interference caused by the rollout of a new 5G system across the United States, the CECC said.

The Moderna doses are to be offered as part of a new round of COVID-19 vaccinations, many of which will be boosters, for which appointments can be scheduled Jan. 26-28.

Vaccinations in this round will be administered Feb. 7-13, according to the CECC.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Chiang Hui-chun and Evelyn Kao)

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