TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan aims to procure around 30 to 45 million COVID-19 vaccines for nationwide inoculation against the virus, according to the country’s coronavirus task force.
Taiwan has obtained 19.81 million jabs from overseas sources, said Health Minister and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) in a regular briefing on Sunday (Feb. 21). An additional 20 million homegrown vaccines and 5 million doses from Pfizer's German partner BioNTech are expected to bring the total number to no more than 45 million, he added.
While the country is set to see a relatively late start to its mass immunization program, Chen urged patience as the authorities assess the safety of available vaccines. Data from around the world related to adverse reactions and vaccine efficacy is being monitored, he added.
Taiwan will work to become self-sufficient in coronavirus doses, according to the health minister. The CECC will oversee the establishment of a COVID-19 vaccine supply platform that will enlist Academia Sinica, the National Health Research Institute, and industry players, wrote CNA.
Chen has sought to assuage public concerns about possible adverse effects associated with AstraZeneca vaccines, which have been granted emergency use approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The first batch of these vaccines will arrive in a couple of days via the COVAX global distribution system.
According to Chen, AstraZeneca shots have been administered in the U.K. on a large scale but with limited reports of serious side effects. The CECC will adhere to WHO guidelines on the use of the vaccine, which is recommended for individuals aged 18 and above.