CORONAVIRUS/AstraZeneca vaccines clear tests, administration could start Monday

03/17/2021 08:34 PM
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File photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration
File photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration

Taipei, March 17 (CNA) The government aims to start administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine next Monday at the soonest after the drug cleared required testing Wednesday, according to Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).

Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said the vaccine doses Taiwan received earlier this month have passed all seven checks in the nation's Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) inspection process.

The CECC is scheduled to hold a meeting on Friday with experts to review the safety inspection data before deciding on a schedule for the vaccination roll-out.

Chen stressed that the government will make sure the vaccine is safe to use before allowing Taiwanese people to be vaccinated after reports of blood clots forming among some people who had received the inoculation, leading 13 European countries to pause their vaccination programs.

The European Union's medicines regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), is currently reviewing whether the blood clots are a direct result of the vaccine and is scheduled to hold an extraordinary meeting on the issue on Friday (Taipei time).

CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the center's meeting in Taipei will look at the reasons why some countries have suspended administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine and study any recommendations put forth by the EMA.

Taiwan received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine, comprising 117,000 AstraZeneca doses, on March 3.

According to the CECC's vaccination priority list, the doses will first be given to medical and non-medical personnel in hospitals, clinics and quarantine centers, and then to a more widespread group of epidemic prevention workers.

In total, Taiwan has signed contracts to purchase a total of 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 4.76 million doses of vaccines through the COVAX allocation program.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Wang Shu-feng and Joseph Yeh)

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