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CORONAVIRUS/CECC mulls annual COVID-19 vaccinations starting 2024

02/23/2023 09:30 PM
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People receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a mass vaccination site set up at Taipei Stadium in November. CNA file photo
People receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a mass vaccination site set up at Taipei Stadium in November. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 23 (CNA) Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Victor Wang (王必勝) on Thursday said either March or April could be designated as the month for annual COVID-19 vaccinations in Taiwan starting in 2024.

Although the required number of inoculations is dependent on scientific research, preliminary estimates suggest one vaccination per year will suffice, with March or April planned as the designated month, Wang said at a press briefing.

Either of those months will ensure COVID-19 vaccinations are separate from annual flu vaccinations which are available from October every year.

Wang also announced a new COVID-19 vaccination program scheduled to run from March 6 to April 30 this year, aimed at encouraging the roughly 1.3 million people who have not yet received a jab.

Specifically, the program targets anyone who is 6 months old and above and never received a COVID-19 vaccination shot, and will also be available to anyone who is 6 years old and above who has yet to receive a Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine shot.

However, there must be a minimum interval of 84 days between vaccination shots or when a person last tested positive for COVID-19 for anyone wanting to receive a jab from the program, the CECC said.

Wang also encouraged individuals who are vaccinated to get an additional jab this year to boost immunity.

Further details of the program will be published on the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control website, Wang said.

Data released Thursday showed that 94 percent of the population in Taiwan has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including 475 people who were just given their first shot a day earlier.

Meanwhile, 76.3 percent have gotten a booster shot, and 23 percent have received two extra doses, according to the CECC.

(By Shen Pei-yao, Chen Chieh-ling and James Lo)


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