First COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Taiwan

TAIPEI, March 3 (Reuters) – The primary batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday, the well being minister mentioned, including the island is hoping to safe extra vaccines because it prepares to start its immunisation marketing campaign.

About 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Plc vaccines landed at Taipei’s primary worldwide airport within the morning, Chen Shih-chung advised reporters. He declined to say when the pictures will begin being administered.

Chen mentioned whereas the quantity of vaccines that arrived solely represented a “comparatively small” variety of what the island has ordered from AstraZeneca, the cargo marked a “very significant” occasion for Taiwan’s well being staff.

“Each nation is stockpiling. We after all welcome what was despatched to us,” Chen mentioned, including Taiwan is working to get extra imported vaccines.

In December, Taiwan mentioned it had agreed to purchase nearly 20 million vaccine doses, together with 10 million from AstraZeneca. Additionally it is getting 200,000 AstraZeneca vaccines through world vaccine initiative COVAX.

The federal government granted emergency-use authorisation for the AstraZeneca pictures final month.

Taiwan can also be getting 5 million doses from U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc, and the federal government mentioned final week it might start administering its home-made COVID-19 vaccines as early as July.

The federal government plans to vaccinate frontline well being and quarantine staff first, and goals finally to rise up to 45 million vaccine doses for its 23 million individuals.

Taiwan has saved the pandemic nicely beneath management due to early and efficient prevention, together with robust border controls and quarantine measures, with solely 23 energetic circumstances being handled in hospital.

Whereas Taiwan has been eager to begin vaccinations, officers have mentioned that with such a low fee of an infection there was not the identical urgency to getting the pictures as different international locations with a far larger toll.

Germany’s BioNTech SE has mentioned it plans to offer COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, after the island complained the agency pulled out of a deal to promote it 5 million doses on the final minute, presumably resulting from strain from China, which claims Taiwan as its personal. (Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Enhancing by Lincoln Feast.)

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