Taiwan to offer COVID vaccine to 2nd, 3rd priority groups

Nation to begin vaccinating epidemic prevention workers, people with higher risk of exposure next week

National Taiwan University Hospital Superintendent Wu Ming-shiang receives AstraZeneca vaccine. 

National Taiwan University Hospital Superintendent Wu Ming-shiang receives AstraZeneca vaccine.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan will begin administering coronavirus vaccine doses to people in the second and third priority groups on Monday (April 12) as the country seeks to accelerate its vaccination timeline to make more adults eligible by the end of May.

Taiwan began its vaccine rollout on March 22, and all workers at healthcare facilities across the nation are currently eligible to receive the jabs. As of Wednesday afternoon (April 7), 18,657 adults have received at least their first shot.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Central Epidemic Command Center head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that access to the COVID-19 vaccine will be expanded to those in the second and third priority groups starting Monday. An estimated 125,000 people are included in these two categories: government epidemic prevention workers and those with a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure due to their jobs.

Chen pointed out that the expansion will cover all individuals with an elevated chance of exposure. These include frontline health officials at airports and other ports of entry, paramedics and firefighters, pilots and flight attendants, drivers of epidemic prevention taxis, and quarantine hotel staff.

By next Friday (April 16), at least 170 locations across the country will be offering vaccinations, according to Chen. He encouraged members of the public to register for an appointment early to better protect against the virus.

So far, Taiwan has received two shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine — 117,000 doses purchased directly from AstraZeneca that will expire on June 15 and 199,200 AstraZeneca doses secured via COVAX that will expire May 31.

Health officials previously explained that the second batch will expire soon due to a delay in shipment. To prevent the shots from going to waste, they have promised to expand vaccine eligibility faster.

Updated : 2021-04-12 22:18 GMT+08:00