CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan approves boosters for 5-11 age group, expands 4th dose eligibility

06/27/2022 05:35 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) Taiwan's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Monday approved the use of the Moderna vaccine for children under 5 years old, booster shots for the 5-11 age group, the Novavax vaccine for those 18 and above, and expanded the eligibility of second booster shots.

The ACIP made the decisions in a meeting held Monday morning, with the changes announced by Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) at a press briefing in the afternoon.

The rollout of the vaccine for these four groups will depend on vaccine shipments and the arrangements of local governments, Chuang said, adding that the planning will take some time.

According to Chuang, the ACIP approved the Moderna vaccine for children aged between 6 months and 5 years old, with the recommended interval between the two doses set at four to eight weeks.

The CECC has said previously that 450,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which can be used to supply up to 900,000 shots for the age group, will arrive in early July, with the rollout scheduled for late July.

The 5-11 age group, meanwhile, can get a booster dose 150 days after getting their last COVID-19 vaccine shot, the ACIP said.

Certain immunocompromised individuals in this age group can get an additional dose 28 days after their second vaccine shot, and receive a booster dose 150 days after that.

These individuals include cancer patients who are currently undergoing or have received immunosuppressive therapy within the past year, organ transplant or stem cell transplant recipients, moderate or severe congenital immunocompromised individuals, dialysis patients, and HIV-positive individuals.

Also included are those currently taking highly immunosuppressive drugs, individuals who received chemotherapy or radiation therapy within the past six months, and those considered to be immunocompromised after an evaluation by a medical doctor, according to the ACIP.

The ACIP also on Monday approved the use of the Novavax vaccine for primary series and boosters shots for those 18 years old and above. The Novavax vaccine can be mixed and matched with other vaccine brands currently available for the age group, the ACIP said.

Taiwan has ordered 2 million doses of the Novavax vaccine through COVAX, and more information on when the first shipment will arrive is likely to come in the next few days, according to Chuang.

Also on Monday, the ACIP approved a second booster shot for those working at airports and other ports of entry, as well as for people whose work requires them to be in contact with individuals in quarantine, airline crew members, and care facility employees.

These individuals should get their second booster shot five months after their first booster, the ACIP said.

Previously, the second booster shot was only eligible for senior citizens aged 65 and above, residents of long-term care facilities, medical workers, and individuals aged 18 and above who are immunocompromised.

People should get vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of whether or not they have ever contracted the disease, the ACIP said.

Those who have previously tested positive can get a vaccine dose beginning three months after they first began to display symptoms of COVID-19 or first received a positive test result, the ACIP said.

The three-month interval can be shortened, however, if individuals face a higher risk of COVID-19 infection due to their jobs, if they are immunocompromised, or if they need to travel to other countries with vaccination requirements, provided that they have been evaluated by a doctor, the ACIP said.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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