TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (July 27) said it will not lift border restrictions until the COVID vaccination rate for children under the age of five rises from the current level of 6.6% to at least 50%.
During a press conference on Monday (July 25) media asked CECC head Victor Wang (王必勝) when Taiwan would loosen its border controls. Wang said it would depend on the vaccination coverage rate among young children, without specifying what that rate would be.
When asked again on Tuesday (July 26), CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said plans for implementing the "0 + 7" plan are underway, but that only 6.6% of children under the age of five have received the first dose of the COVID vaccine. He pointed out that only one-quarter of infants and young children in Taiwan have been infected with COVID.
Chuang said that when unvaccinated infants and young children become infected with the virus, the probability of severe disease is higher than that of unvaccinated groups. He stressed that it is important to "Always give infants and young children a chance to get vaccinated" to reduce the risk of severe illness.
Regarding the CECC's target vaccination rate, Chuang said that about 26% of infants and young children have been infected with the virus. Chuang said that at least 50% of infants and young children should be vaccinated before Taiwan can begin to open its borders further.
As to whether Taiwan will adopt the "0 + 7" quarantine scheme in August, Chuang said the CECC is moving in the direction of loosening border controls, which will be considered based on the pandemic situation. However, Chuang said that the relaxed border restrictions will not be implemented in August and no exact date has been set yet.
Chuang said that 5,260 children under the age of five received a COVID shot on Monday, bringing the total number of children in that age group who have received the first dose to 52,854. As of publication, 120 children under the age of 13 have contracted COVID in Taiwan and 25 have died from the disease.
On May 25, Taiwan started providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11. Moderna vaccinations for children between the ages of six months and five years began on July 21.