Health minister explains vaccine plans

24 November, 2020

Courtesy of ICRT

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says the government is hoping to procure at least 30 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. 

Speaking at a legislative hearing, Chen said health authorities are planning to vaccinate 60% of the population to achieve herd immunity and that means some 14 million people will need to receive the two doses the vaccines require.

According to Chen, the government is preparing to pay the deposits needed to access three promising coronavirus vaccine candidates that are currently in Phase three trials.

The health minister says front-line healthcare workers will likely be the first to receive government funded vaccinations followed by police, military personnel and long-term care centre workers.

People aged 65 or above will also be given priority when coronavirus vaccines are opened to the public, and that'll be followed by people aged 19 to 64 in high-risk groups and then healthy adults aged 50 to 64.

However, Chen says it remains unclear how much self-paid vaccines will cost because the rates have yet to be set.

CNA reports that Taiwan can procure Covid-19 vaccines for 10-50% of the country's population through the COVAX allocation platform, citing Chuang Jen-hsiang, spokesperson for the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), although he declined to give the specific amount that Taiwan plans to buy. Under a deal Taiwan signed with COVAX in September, Taiwan will purchase at least enough doses to vaccinate 10% of the population, which amounts to around 2.3 million people. Taiwan will make a decision on which one to purchase when clinical trials are completed and the efficacy data and prices are revealed, he said.

In total, Taiwan has budgeted NT$11.55 billion for the purchase of 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines and the CECC can ask for a further NT$5.28 billion if needed, Chuang said.

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