TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday (Jan. 7) announced that it has cut the waiting period for a booster shot after two doses of a COVID vaccine from five months to three months as the country begins reporting local Omicron cases.
CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that it is now recommending that all people over the age of 18 should receive a third dose of a COVID vaccine and shorten the interval between the second and third doses to 12 weeks (3 months). Chen said that any vaccine approved by Taiwan can be used for the booster shot, except for AstraZeneca (AZ) in the case of those who had already received two doses of that brand.
Chen stressed that he does not recommend people receive three doses of the AZ vaccine.
In response to the expansion of a cluster of local Omicron infections that started at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, experts from the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Thursday (Jan. 6) held a meeting to discuss shortening the waiting period for the third dose. That day, they reached a consensus that the waiting period to receive a booster shot should be reduced from five to three months.
The ACIP recommended that after receiving two doses of a COVID vaccine, all people over the age of 18 should receive a third dose to strengthen immunity against the new variants. The new guidance went into effect on Friday.
Chen said that for people who received two doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT), or Medigen, their third dose could be half a dose of Moderna or a full dose of Medigen, BNT, or AZ. However, Chen pointed out that if the first two doses were the AZ jab, it is recommended that the third dose be a different brand.
Chen emphasized that the current vaccine inventory is sufficient and local government health departments will be asked to expand their vaccination capacity as soon as possible. People who received their second dose three or more months ago can contact their local health department to inquire about vaccine brands and vaccination times provided by designated medical institutions.