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504,000 doses of Novavax to arrive in Taiwan on Thursday

Public can begin taking Nuvaxovid vaccine as soon as July 8

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(Reuters photo)

(Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The first batch of 500,000 doses of the Novavax COVID vaccine (Nuvaxovid) will arrive on Thursday (June 30) and the jabs will be available as soon as July 8, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon (June 29), CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that 504,000 doses of Nuvaxovid will arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Thursday morning. Chen said that after customs clearance procedures are completed, the vaccines will be directly transported to a designated cold storage logistics center for inspection and re-sealing of vaccine packaging.

Chen said the batch of vaccines will be usable until their expiration date of Sept. 20, 2022. He estimated the public can begin receiving the vaccine as soon as July 8.

On June 17, Nuvaxovid was given emergency use authorization (EUA) for adults aged 18 and over by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Taiwan's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Monday (June 27) approved the Novavax vaccine for use as a booster for adults aged 18 and over in combination with other vaccine brands available to that age group.

Chen emphasized that Nuvaxovid can be used for the first or second jab in the primary series, or as a booster shot. He said it can also be mixed and matched with other vaccine brands.

The dosing schedule of the vaccine is two 0.5 ml shots (for all three doses) given intramuscularly three weeks apart.

In a press release issued that day, the CECC said Taiwan had signed an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, on Sept. 18, 2020 to purchase 4.76 million doses of COVID vaccines through the COVAX mechanism. Taiwan is scheduled to receive a total of 2.268 million doses of Nuvaxovid this year through COVAX.

During a press conference on Tuesday (June 28), CECC Spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) pointed out that as a protein-based vaccine, Nuvaxovid has been found to produce fewer side effects than mRNA-based vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. He suggested that members of the public concerned about adverse reactions from COVID vaccines, particularly the elderly, can consider Nuvaxovid as an alternative.