COVID-19: Taiwan scrambles for vaccines as domestic cases rise

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Taiwan, one of the world’s COVID-19 mitigation success stories, scramble for vaccines as its stock of 300,000 doses starts running out with only about 1% of its 23 million people vaccinated.

Taipei’s de facto ambassador in the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim said in a comment that, she had been pressing Moderna to ensure the vaccines arrive on schedule before the end of June.

“Our people’s expectations for vaccines is rather urgent,” she said.

Moderna and AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Taiwan has been a model of how to control the pandemic since it began and life had carried on almost as normal with none of the lockdowns and overwhelmed hospitals seen elsewhere.

Over the past week it has reported more than 700 domestic cases, out of a total of 2,017 infections recorded since the pandemic began. In all, 12 have died of COVID-19 on the island.

Tough new restrictions have been imposed in the capital, Taipei, for the first time as authorities fear an increasing number of cases.

While Taiwan has begun vaccinations, it has only received about 300,000 shots, all AstraZeneca Plc ones, having been caught up in the global shortage despite having 20 million on order, including from Moderna Inc.

Health authorities last week stopped giving shots to people who are not on priority lists that include the elderly and medical staff.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said last week more vaccines would be arriving from next month, though she gave no details. Domestically developed vaccines are also due by July.

Health Minister, Chen Shih-chung that there was no new progress to report on the arrival of more vaccines but lots more would gradually be coming.

READ ALSO: Taiwan bars arrival from India amid coronavirus variant fears

 

 

Kamila/Reuters

 

 

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