CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan eyeing late September for rollout of updated COVID vaccines
Taipei, Sept. 7 (CNA) Taiwan expects to receive 3 million doses of Moderna's second-generation COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks and begin administering them by late September, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.
At a press briefing, CECC head Victor Wang (王必勝) said the vaccine's manufacturer had agreed to expedite the shipment of sample doses, which will speed up the inspection process and likely allow the shots to be rolled out in late September.
Wang encouraged people to get the updated vaccine when they become eligible, saying the shot, which targets both the original version of the virus and the Omicron variant BA.1, is also effective against the BA.5 variant now spreading in Taiwan.
According to the CECC, the second-generation Moderna vaccines Taiwan has purchased will be offered for use as first, second or third booster shots.
Initially, they will be reserved for use by vulnerable population groups, including seniors aged 65 and above and adults aged 18 and above with compromised immune systems.
Eligibility will later be expanded to include individuals aged 50-64, those aged 18 and above who need to travel overseas, and people whose work places them at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, such as front-line medical workers and airport and port employees.
The CECC has recently been encouraging older adults and children to get vaccinated or boosted amid an uptick in BA.5 variant infections. Taiwan reported over 40,000 new cases on Wednesday for the first time since June 29.
As of Sept. 6, 93 percent of those eligible in Taiwan had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, while 86.9 percent had received two shots and 72.5 percent had received a first booster shot.
Some 9.7 percent of the population has received a second booster shot, including 38.4 percent of those aged 65 and above, CECC statistics showed.
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