TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Within three days, nearly 3.3 million people in Taiwan have listed the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as their brand of choice.
On Aug. 25, Health Minister and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said the BioNTech jab will arrive ahead of schedule, despite Chinese labeling, after Taiwan was able to wrestle away a shipment from a third country. Taiwan's vaccine registration platform began including the BioNTech shot as an option at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 28).
Within the first three hours, 1,977,084 Taiwanese marked BioNTech as either their only choice or one among other brands. By 5 p.m. on Monday (Aug. 30), the number who included BioNTech among their preferred brands rose to 3,294,037.
The CECC said that it will prioritize students ages 12-18 for the BioNTech jab since it is the only one thus far to have received approval for that age range in Taiwan. On Thursday (Aug. 26), Chen indicated that students will probably be inoculated at their schools and that vaccinations will start with older students before moving to younger ones.
Chen stressed that regardless of brand, the center will strive to make vaccines available to young people as soon as possible and arrange the order of vaccinations based on vaccine availability. From 10 a.m. Aug. 29 to 12 p.m. Aug. 31, bookings for the seventh round of vaccinations will be open to people aged 29 and older as well as those aged 18 and up in the ninth priority group who had registered their willingness to receive an AstraZeneca shot before July 19.
The seventh round of vaccinations is scheduled to take place from Sept. 3-10. Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 31), Chen will respond to media reports that the first batch of BioNTech doses will arrive Wednesday (Sept. 1).
To register for vaccination or modify vaccine preferences, visit the 1922.gov.tw website.