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Surgeon-turned-Taipei mayor opposes vaccinations at shopping malls

Ko Wen-je says move hinders emergency response if things go awry

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (right) in COVID-19 briefing. (Facebook, Ko Wen-je screenshot)

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (right) in COVID-19 briefing. (Facebook, Ko Wen-je screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei mayor and medical expert Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Monday (Dec. 6) expressed concern over the central government’s decision to make COVID-19 vaccinations available at shopping centers.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) is working with department stores and retailers to provide inoculations, some with prizes as an incentive, to boost Taiwan’s vaccination coverage rate before the arrival of the infectious variant Omicron.

Ko, a former surgeon specializing in emergency medicine at National Taiwan University Hospital, argued against the measure. “This undermines the ability to perform CPR on people who require such aid after getting a jab,” he said.

The physician-turned-politician also pointed out fundamental differences between the Taiwanese and U.S. medical systems. Taipei boasts more than 200 vaccination sites that are part of a well-connected healthcare network, while the sprawling American cities have needed to set up clinics in shopping malls in their effort to drive up the pace of nationwide immunization.

“First aid would be an issue if things go wrong,” Ko stressed. He considers the policy counterintuitive considering the cost, the risk, and the practicality, per NewTalk.

The CECC has insisted on adding more vaccination sites and promised adequate stand-by medical assistance. As of Sunday (Dec. 5), 78.17% of Taiwan’s population had received one dose, with 60.52% fully vaccinated, according to the COVID-19 Dashboard.

Updated : 2022-01-25 13:15 GMT+08:00