TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan needs to speed up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign so that 65% of the population can be inoculated within three months, former Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said Wednesday (July 21).
The country has had difficulty procuring sufficient amounts of vaccine doses, even amid recent donations from other countries and efforts by private groups in Taiwan showing results.
Chen, who served as health minister during the 2003 SARS epidemic, discussed Taiwan’s campaign in his opening speech at the online BIO Asia-Taiwan 2021 event, CNA reported.
He shed light on the country’s initial reaction to the COVID outbreak in early 2020, including its development of preventive policies and later its efforts to contain a serious local outbreak in mid-May of this year. The number of daily local infections peaked at over 500 before dipping below 20 over the past week, giving rise to hopes that a series of restrictions might be lifted after July 26.
Border controls, contact tracing, and quarantines were the key weapons in Taiwan’s arsenal against the coronavirus pandemic, Chen told his international audience.
He described how the country needs to step up its vaccination campaign, as only 9% of the population had received at least one jab by early July. Since then, the proportion has reached 23%, but Chen expressed hope that two-thirds could be fully vaccinated within the next three months.