TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An American astronomer this week found himself on Taiwanese news after documenting his experience receiving Taiwan's domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine.
Alex Teachey, a distinguished postdoctoral fellow at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taipei, on Monday (Aug. 23) received his first injection of the vaccine developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (高端疫苗, MVC). After receiving the jab, Teachey posted a photo of himself on Twitter holding up his new vaccine card.
Vaccination goes viral
In the tweet, the 36-year-old scholar wrote that he was "thrilled" to get his first dose of the Medigen vaccine on the first day of its release. He then repeated the comment in Chinese and asked readers if they liked his green mask, which read "Taiwan" and is derived from the famous "Hawkeye challenge" of Taiwan’s gold-winning Olympic badminton match.
The tweet received over 3,000 likes, 295 retweets, and 64 comments. By Wednesday, his tweet had been reported on by at least four major Taiwanese news agencies, including the Liberty Times, ETtoday, China Times, and SET News.
Below his tweet, Teachey explained his rationale for getting the domestic vaccine:
"I have confidence in the science of vaccines. I trust Taiwan's COVID response, and believe it is not in the long-term interest of the government to put out an unsafe or ineffective vaccine.
And I am willing to be an early subject..."
Teachey pointed out that many in Taiwan have expressed reservations about Medigen because it has not completed Phase III trials. He countered the skeptics by saying that shunning the vaccine means "you're asking *someone* out there to get injected with a new vaccine and assume whatever risks there may be, for you," adding that this is "a moment I can step forward."
In his blog, Teachey wrote that when given the option to select his preferred vaccine, he selected all three available options: AZ, Moderna, and Medigen. When he received a text message from 1922 informing him that he could register for the Medigen jab, he did not hesitate and "raced to his computer" to book an appointment.
He described the registration process as "a breeze" and given the large number of locations to choose from, he was able to make a reservation at a clinic only a four-minute walk from his apartment. Having filled out his paperwork ahead of time and with his national insurance card in hand, Teachey wrote that within five minutes after arriving at the clinic at 11 a.m. he received the injection.
After waiting approximately 10 minutes for observation, he said the staff returned his insurance card, handed him his yellow vaccination card, and sent him on his way. He wrote that as of two days after the injection, the only side effect he could detect was a sore arm, which is consistent with other vaccines he has received before.
Teachey, who focuses on finding exomoons, moons that are located in other star systems, on Thursday (Aug. 26) confirmed to Taiwan News that other than his sore arm, he still has "no symptoms of any kind." He reiterated his confidence in the government and its decision to release the vaccine and said he was "happy to get it."
Absolutely thrilled to get my first jab of Taiwan's domestically developed Medigen vaccine today, the first day of its release！#Taiwan— Alex Teachey 齊孝嵐 (@alexteachey) August 23, 2021