CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan to receive rest of COVID drug order by June: health minister

04/22/2022 08:13 PM
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Paxlovid, which consists of two different pills in a five-day course of treatment. Photo: Pfizer / Handout via Reuters
Paxlovid, which consists of two different pills in a five-day course of treatment. Photo: Pfizer / Handout via Reuters

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Taiwan is expected to take delivery of another 520,000 courses of the COVID-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid by the end of June, completing its first order, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Friday.

Amid a rapid surge in domestic COVID-19 cases, Taiwan recently signed a deal to acquire 700,000 courses of Paxlovid from Pfizer, and 180,000 courses have already been delivered, Chen said at the Central Epidemic Command Center's (CECC) daily press briefing.

Paxlovid is an oral therapeutic treatment for COVID-19, which makes it easy to administer, and it meets Taiwan's current needs, he said. The 180,000 courses that Taiwan has received so far will be distributed to hospitals and pharmacies throughout the country, Chen said.

According to the CECC, Paxlovid is being given mainly to COVID-19 patients over the age of 64 and those under 65 who have chronic health issues.

Related:

April 15: 4,100 courses of COVID-19 drug Paxlovid arrive in Taiwan

April 13: Final shipment of COVID-19 drug molnupiravir arrives

The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of April 22, Taiwan recorded 22,256 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 10,187 from 2,375 on Dec. 31.
The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of April 22, Taiwan recorded 22,256 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 10,187 from 2,375 on Dec. 31.

The health minister, who heads the CECC, said the government is also seeking to buy more Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccines.

If the negotiations on that deal go smoothly, Taiwan would receive about 1.5 million Pfizer-BNT doses in May, which would also include special doses for children 5 to 11 years old, Chen said.

Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing applications for emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BNT vaccine for children and is awaiting some additional information from the vaccine makers, he said.

If Taiwan can vaccinate at least half of its 1.2 million children in the 6-11 age group, it will be a significant achievement, compared to the European Union and the United States, where only about 28 percent of children are vaccinated against COVID-19, Chen said.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of April 13, some 9.7 million American children ages 5-11 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, representing 34 percent, while 28 percent had gotten two doses.

To date, 84.37 percent Taiwan's 23 million population has received at least one COVID-19 shot, while 79.63 percent has gotten two doses, and 56.86 percent has received a booster shot, CECC data showed.

Related:

April 20: Taiwan approves Moderna vaccine for children aged 6-11

April 15: Taiwan mandates 3 COVID shots for high-risk groups, venues

1. More doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BNT vaccine have been administered in Taiwan than the government has officially received because recipients of the Moderna booster shot are given half the standard dose of the first and second jab, while medical workers can sometimes get more than the standard number of shots from a Pfizer-BNT vial. 2. Information about the booster dose and additional dose can be found at https://t.ly/4ZuW
1. More doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BNT vaccine have been administered in Taiwan than the government has officially received because recipients of the Moderna booster shot are given half the standard dose of the first and second jab, while medical workers can sometimes get more than the standard number of shots from a Pfizer-BNT vial. 2. Information about the booster dose and additional dose can be found at https://t.ly/4ZuW

Meanwhile, Chen said that more rapid test kits will become available in Taiwan between the end of April and early May, as the daily number of domestic COVID-19 cases has climbed to the thousands, depleting the country's rapid test reserves.

Some 21 million rapid test kits produced by Roche Diagnostics are scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on May 2, while another 7.8 million produced by Abbott Laboratories are expected on April 30, he said.

Related:

April 21: Rapid testing to replace preventive quarantine: health minister

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chiang Hui-chun, Lai Yu-chen and Ko Lin)

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Update

May 7: Quarantine cut to 7 days for mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 cases: CECC

May 7: Taiwan rolls back quarantine rules for contacts of COVID-19 patients

May 5: Rapid test positives to be counted as confirmed COVID cases from May 12

May 5: COVID-19 antiviral drugs now available to patients in home quarantine

May 4: Taiwan adjusts hospital policy for COVID-19 patients 

May 3: Taiwan to shorten quarantine for arriving travelers from 10 to 7 days

April 26: COVID vaccine rollout for 6-11-year-olds to start May 2: MOE

Recent cases

April 22: Taiwan reports 3,859 new COVID-19 cases, including 3,766 domestic

April 21: Taiwan reports 3,058 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,969 domestic

April 20: Taiwan reports 2,481 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,386 domestic

April 19: Taiwan reports 1,727 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths

April 18: Taiwan reports 1,390 new domestic COVID-19 cases, 90 imported

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