Updated Moderna vaccine on the way
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) says it will take delivery of a shipment of 600,000 doses of Moderna's second-generation coronavirus vaccine tomorrow. The vaccine targets the original virus and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
According to CECC head Victor Wang, the new vaccine's rollout is likely to start on 18 November and the doses will be made available as a booster for people aged 12 years are older.
Wang says the government has so far only ordered 600,000 doses of the new Moderna vaccine, and he's not saying whether more doses will be ordered in the future.
Health authorities say sequencing data shows the majority of infections here in Taiwan are currently being caused by the Omicron BA.5 virus.
Second-generation coronavirus vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration late last month. Taiwan has yet to order any doses of the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Separately, the CECC has announced that the government will stop requiring that certain high-risk groups get a Covid vaccine booster shot from 14 November.
These groups include medical professionals, frontline disease prevention workers, air crews, designated transportation workers, quarantine hotel employees, soldiers, and policemen.
They also include those working at elementary schools, kindergartens, high schools, community colleges, and childcare and social-care providers, and people working at conference and exhibition centres as well as prison and correctional facility staff.
The announcement comes after the CECC lifted its vaccine mandate for staff and clients of fitness and recreation centres, KTVs, massage parlours and bars as well as for people participating in group tours or religious activities.
The three-shot vaccine mandate has been in place since mid-April, when the number of daily reported new domestic infections surged from over 100 to more than 1,000 over a 15-day period.
This comes as the CECC reported just over 16,500 new domestic coronavirus cases yesterday. A majority of those new infections are being reported in New Taipei followed
once again by Taichung and Kaohsiung.
According to the CECC, the new cases represent the lowest daily figure since 15 August and are a 26.8% decline from last week.
34 new deaths were reported and all but one of them had underlying health issues. That brings the total number of coronavirus-related deaths here in Taiwan since the pandemic began to just over 13,200.