TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) will reportedly shorten the interval between the second dose of a COVID vaccine and a booster shot.
In response to the expansion of a cluster of local Omicron infections that started at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) has repeatedly called on the CECC to shorten the interval between the second and third doses of COVID vaccines.
Experts from the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Thursday (Jan. 6) have reportedly reached a consensus that the waiting period to receive a booster shot should be reduced to three months, with details to be announced later on Friday afternoon (Jan. 7).
On Thursday afternoon, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) declared "Omicron has already entered the country." Early on Friday morning, the Taoyuan City Government Department of Public Health announced that four more COVID cases tied to the airport cluster have been confirmed, bringing the total to 12.
Given the rapid spread of Omicron around the world and the formation of a cluster in Taiwan, some physicians and experts have started to urge the government to shorten the interval between the second and third doses of COVID jabs. According to a ETtoday report, people familiar with the matter said the ACIP's meeting mainly focused on people in high-risk groups 1 through 3 and found the proportion of them eligible for the five-month interval at this stage is lower than expected.
The experts therefore agreed that the waiting period to receive a booster shot should be shortened to three months. It is currently unclear whether the groups that will be eligible for the shortened interval are high-risk individuals or the general public.
CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the new policy regarding the interval for a third dose will be explained at the center's press conference on Friday afternoon.