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Long-awaited Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to arrive in Taiwan tonight

1st batch of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs to be delivered by Cargolux jet at 9:30 p.m.

Vials of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at vaccination center in Geneva, Switzerland. (REUTERS photo)

Vials of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at vaccination center in Geneva, Switzerland. (REUTERS photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The long-anticipated first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses is due to arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday evening (Sept. 1).

When asked on Tuesday (Aug. 31) to comment on media reports that the first batch of BioNTech jabs would arrive Wednesday, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said it was difficult to ascertain exactly when the flight would arrive, "but the time that everyone mentioned is very close." When asked how large the shipment would be, Chen said it would come in two batches of about 900,000 doses each.

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Deputy Chief Executive Ho Jih-sheng (何日生) was cited by CNA as saying Tuesday that the first batch would arrive Wednesday evening. Ho said the charity plans to send representatives to witness the arrival of the jabs and that only then will the exact quantity be known.

ETtoday cited a source familiar with the matter as saying that the first batch would be transported by flight CV7962, operated by the Luxembourgian cargo airline Cargolux. Ho also confirmed that the BioNTech vaccine would be aboard the plane.

After a stopover in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku, it is scheduled to arrive at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Chen emphasized that he will definitely be at the airport to welcome the delivery in person.

Once the doses arrive in the country, the priority group will be students between the ages of 12 and 17. Registration will also open to adults between 18 and 22 years of age.

Updated : 2021-09-21 20:22 GMT+08:00