CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan-purchased 582,000 AstraZeneca jabs arrive

07/27/2021 04:34 PM
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The China Airlines plane that transports the latest batch of AstraZeneca vaccine arrives at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA photo July 27, 2021
The China Airlines plane that transports the latest batch of AstraZeneca vaccine arrives at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA photo July 27, 2021

Taipei, July 27 (CNA) Taiwan on Tuesday received a shipment of 582,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the fourth batch delivered from the 10 million AZ jabs the government purchased from the manufacturer.

The shipment arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at 3:14 p.m. from Bangkok, Thailand.

So far, AstraZeneca has delivered 1.885 million vaccine doses of the 10 million ordered, according to data from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

At the CECC's press briefing on Tuesday, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said the newest doses will not expire until Nov. 30 this year. Chen heads the CECC.

Before Tuesday, the three shipments of AZ vaccines from the lot purchased by Taiwan were 117,000 doses that arrived on March 3, 626,000 doses that arrived on July 7, and 560,000 doses delivered on July 15.

Taiwan's government has signed contracts to purchase about 55.81 million vaccine doses from abroad, including 41.05 million doses of Moderna, 10 million doses of AstraZeneca, and 4.76 million of unspecified brands through the COVAX global vaccine distribution program.

Most of the Moderna vaccines, however, are not scheduled to be delivered until 2022 and 2023.

It has also signed contracts to buy 10 million doses of vaccines from two Taiwanese manufacturers, though only one of the two manufacturers' vaccines has even received emergency use approval in Taiwan.

Before Tuesday, Taiwan had only received a total of 8.9 million doses, including 3.65 million doses of Moderna -- 1.15 million bought from the manufacturer and 2.5 million donated by the United States.

There were also 5.25 million doses of AstraZeneca, including 3.34 million donated by Japan.

To date, more than 6.75 million people in Taiwan have received at least one COVID-19 shot, or about 28.7 percent of the population, but only 262,105, or 1.1 percent, have been fully vaccinated with two jabs, according to Centers for Disease Control data.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)

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