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Taiwan in talks to get monkeypox vaccines in late 2022

Frontline medical workers, researchers could be first to receive vaccines and antiviral drugs

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The number of cases of monkeypox in Europe have tripled in two weeks. (Reuters photo)

The number of cases of monkeypox in Europe have tripled in two weeks. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Saturday (July 2) that it is in the process of procuring vaccines and antiviral drugs to counter the ongoing monkeypox outbreak after the country reported the first imported monkeypox case in late June.

Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told UDN the agency is negotiating with a supplier of antiviral drugs and third-generation vaccines developed to protect against smallpox.

Chuang declined to unveil the number of vaccine doses to be procured at this stage, citing "business secrets" as a reason. He said the vaccine and the antiviral drugs will be made available by the end of the year.

The official also refuted a rumor the agency plans to purchase just 250 doses of the vaccine and 150 doses of the antiviral pills. It said the quantity will be made public after the deal has been reached.

"The vaccines and pills, after arrival, will first go to frontline medical workers who treat patients with monkeypox and laboratory researchers who might have contact with the virus," he said.

In a press release published on June 30, the CDC wrote that out of the 55 countries that have reported monkeypox infections, only 11 had imported cases, including Taiwan. A Taiwanese man in his 20s who spent the past six months studying in Germany has been identified as Taiwan's first monkeypox case after returning home in mid-June.