TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has authorized the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, and the first batch is expected to arrive sometime this month, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Wednesday (May 5).
Speaking at a press conference, Chen said the Food and Drug Administration had granted authorization to the Moderna vaccine on April 22. While he could not give a precise delivery date for the vaccine, Chen said it is estimated to arrive sometime in May since the government has not received notice about a shipment delay.
In February, Chen stated that Taiwan had purchased 5.05 million vaccine doses from U.S. pharmaceutical Moderna Inc. He explained that the vaccine vials can be stored at -20 degrees C for six months and between 2 to 6 C for 30 days prior to use.
Meanwhile, Central Epidemic Command Center Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told the media on Tuesday that another batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in June. Although Taiwan has also reached out to Germany's BioNTech to inquire about its Pfizer vaccine, the company has not responded for some time, he said.
Taiwan has so far received two shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine — 117,000 doses purchased directly from the company that will expire on June 15 and 199,200 doses secured via COVAX that will expire May 31.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 67,931 adults in Taiwan had received at least their first coronavirus shot, including 17,956 who enrolled in the self-paid vaccination program.