CORONAVIRUS/10,000 more doses allocated to self-paid COVID-19 vaccine program

04/27/2021 09:10 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) A total of 10,000 more COVID-19 vaccine doses will be reserved for people in Taiwan to receive the vaccine under the self-paid program, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.

Taiwan officially began its COVID-19 vaccine rollout on March 22, with eligibility granted to people in categories at the top of the CECC's priority list.

On April 21, the CECC launched a separate "self-paid" program, allowing people not on the priority list to receive a vaccine shot if they intend to travel abroad for reasons excluding tourism.

The self-paid vaccinations cost up to NT$600 (US$21) per shot, while those administered to people on the government's priority list require a payment of only NT$80-NT$200.

Despite the higher cost, the program has seen high popularity since its launch. A total of 7,165 people have already received their first dose under the program, while 7,909 more have made a reservation to get a shot by May 1, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said Tuesday.

At the current rate, the initial 10,000 doses allocated to the program will run out in two days, which is why the CECC has decided to increase the allocation by another 10,000 doses for this group, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.

The latest CECC data shows that a total of 45,387 people in Taiwan have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Out of the estimated 868,000 people on the priority list that have been granted eligibility, only 38,222, or 4.4 percent, have gotten a shot.

Eligibility is currently open to the top six categories of people on the list. These are medical personnel, epidemic prevention workers, people with a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure due to their jobs, those traveling abroad on diplomatic or official business, athletes representing Taiwan in international competitions, police officers and military police, as well as residents and staff at long-term care facilities and workers in correctional facilities.

To date, Taiwan has taken delivery of 117,000 vaccine doses purchased directly from AstraZeneca, which are due to expire on June 15, as well as 199,200 doses of the same brand supplied through COVAX, which will expire on May 31.

Given the current rate of vaccination, it is likely that some of the vaccine doses will expire before they can be administered.

In total, Taiwan has signed contracts to purchase 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 10 million doses of AstraZeneca, as well as 4.76 million doses of unspecified brands through the COVAX program, which has so far allocated 1.02 million AstraZeneca shots to Taiwan.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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