Taiwan vaccine to be available in July
Courtesy of ICRT
President Tsai Ing-wen says a locally-developed coronavirus vaccine is expected to be available in the coming months.
According to Tsai, “phase two clinical trials of vaccines are now nearing completion” and the government “expects the first vaccine to be ready in late July”.
Speaking following a national security meeting, Tsai said she has directed the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to prepare for mass vaccinations and she went on to encourage the public to get the Taiwan-made shot.
Tsai didn't release any further details concerning the local vaccines, but previous announcements by the Food and Drug Administration have said that at least three vaccines are being developed by Adimmune, United Biomedical and Medigen.
The national security meeting was convened amid rising concern about a spike in community transmission this week.
And Tsai stressed she has ordered all government agencies to discuss possible short-term coronavirus developments and to prepare response measures.
She also called on the public to remain vigilant during what she described as “this difficult time” and made assurances that basic commodities and foodstuffs are in sufficient supply, making “panic buying or hoarding unnecessary”.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has seen a new daily record for coronavirus vaccinations. 16,000 people got the AstraZeneca jab yesterday, bringing Taiwan's total number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine to 129,000.
Two serious adverse reactions were reported, though both patients are now in stable condition after treatment.
In related news, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOWH) has released plans for allocating medical resources if the coronavirus situation worsens, saying it has the capacity to treat more than 10,000 patients in isolation.
The ministry conducted a comprehensive audit of the island's hospital capacity when the pandemic broke out last year and developed a four-stage plan which each stage reflects an increasing threat.
Under the first stage, all suspected and confirmed cases are treated in negative pressure rooms - and there are currently around 1,000 of those islandwide, of which 400 are empty.
In the second stage of the plan, the 171 hospitals in Taiwan with emergency response capabilities will set up special wards to accommodate coronavirus patients, adding some 2,400 beds to the total capacity.
The third stage of the plan will see entire hospitals designated solely for the treatment of coronavirus patients - opening up an additional 3,000 beds, while still allowing for patients to be treated in isolation.
And in the final stage, asymptomatic patients and those with minor symptoms who did not require treatment would be transferred to government-designated quarantine facilities, which could accommodate an additional 4,000 people.