CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan begins rollout of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

09/22/2021 09:47 PM
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CNA photo Sept. 22, 2021
CNA photo Sept. 22, 2021

Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) Taiwan began its rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, with students in five cities and counties receiving their first dose.

Children aged 12-17 are first in line for the Pfizer-BNT vaccine in Taiwan. It marks the first time that the age group has been able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Tainan and Miaoli County began administering the vaccine on Wednesday, though most other cities and counties will start their rollout on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Students at junior and senior high schools have the choice of receiving the vaccine either at their school or a hospital, while those who attend elementary or overseas schools, or are being home-schooled, have to make a reservation on the government vaccination platform before going to a hospital to receive their jabs.

Parents are required to sign a consent form for their children to be vaccinated, and students were instructed to hand the form to their schools so health officials were able to determine the number of doses needed per school.

Around 1.29 million, or 93.1 percent, of the 1.39 million children aged 12-17 in Taiwan have handed in affirmative consent forms, according to the MOE.

In Taipei, nearly 4,500 students received the vaccine on Wednesday. A total of 48 students had minor side effects after the jab, though they all recovered after a short observation period, the city's Department of Education said.

One high school student in Taoyuan fainted after getting the jab, which doctors attributed to needle phobia. He recovered after a brief rest, the city's Department of Public Health said.

In Miaoli County, a student had a seizure before receiving the vaccine and she was attended to by a pediatrician and a neurologist, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Other groups that have been given priority for the Pfizer-BNT vaccine are people aged 18-22, seniors 65 years old and over, and people aged 40 and over who suffer from serious or rare illnesses or injuries.

Those in the three groups who have indicated their willingness to receive the Pfizer-BNT vaccine on the government website total 906,086 people, of which 781,376, or 86.2 percent, successfully booked an appointment to get their first dose of the vaccine before the system closed at noon on Wednesday, the CECC said.

They will be vaccinated between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, the CECC said.

Taiwan has so far taken delivery of 1.84 million doses of the Pfizer-BNT vaccine, part of 15 million doses ordered by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Hon Hai Precision Co./YongLin Charity, and the Buddhist humanitarian organization Tzu Chi Foundation, which will all be donated to the government for distribution.

(By Chen Chih-chung, Sunrise Huang, Yeh Chen, Chen Yu-ting and Chiang Yi-ching)

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