TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Wednesday (Sept. 22) told the Legislative Yuan that Taiwan's 1st-dose vaccination rate will reach 70% in a little over a month's time.
While delivering a report written by the Cabinet on COVID-19 related matters, Su told the Legislative Yuan that the central government is actively striving to obtain vaccines and within just four months, the 1st-dose vaccination rate in Taiwan has risen from less than 1% in May to nearly 50% by Wednesday. Su said that more than 11.6 million people in Taiwan have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Su said that with the concerted efforts of the central government and local governments, the percentage of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine will reach 60% at the beginning of October and 70% by the end of that month. Su said that by October's end, the 2nd-dose vaccination rate should be close to 30%.
According to Su, the country has acquired 17.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, of which 9.1 million were purchased from foreign countries and nearly 8.2 million were donated by friendly nations and private groups. Thus far, 13 million doses have been administered with 7,400 adverse events reported, of which more than half were non-serious, while 786 people died after vaccinations.
The report estimated that by 2023, Taiwan will have amassed 82 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through government procurement, international assistance, and donations from private groups. This will be enough doses for every citizen of Taiwan to receive their third and fourth shots.
Su said that in the beginning of May, Taiwan had received two batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine totalling 310,000 doses. However, due to vaccine hesitancy among the public, only half the doses had been administered by early May.
However, after the country experienced a major outbreak in mid-May, Su said that peoples' willingness to be vaccinated increased significantly. He said that the administration of shots by local governments and the creation of a vaccine registration platform have helped expedite the process.
Comparing Taiwan's epidemic prevention campaign to a baseball game, Su said that "people only remember which teams won the game, performed the best, and had spectacular plays." He pointed out that even championship teams sometimes fail to catch a fly ball or swing and miss.
He asserted that epidemic prevention is the same and that Taiwan's battle with the virus is a nine inning game which may be extended into a playoff round. The premier said that since the start of the pandemic the government has made rapid decisions and mobilized all personnel over the past year and nine months, "without a single moment of relaxation" and that the epidemic prevention team is keeping an eye on the outbreak and is doing everything it can to protect the public and prevent any lapses.