More shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna vaccines slated on Friday

In this Jan. 22, 2021, file photo, a certified medical assistant prepares doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Taiwan received Thursday two vaccine shipments — Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) and Moderna vaccine shots, which will be followed by two more batches of the same brands Friday, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a press briefing.

The recent surge in deliveries will allow the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to continue expanding the eligibility for the BNT vaccine, potentially opening it up to all people aged 12 and above who have not yet gotten a COVID-19 vaccine shot, the minister said.

Individuals aged 12-22, people aged 47 and over, and those who suffer from serious or rare illnesses or injuries are eligible for the vaccine, the minister added.

The sixth vaccine shipment, which contains 889,200 doses, is part of the 15 million doses of the BNT vaccine that have been ordered by the YongLin Charity, under the Hon Hai Precision Co., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation.

The vaccine doses will be shipped to designated cold storage and logistics centers for the subsequent testing and lot release procedures after customs clearance before they are distributed to the public.

Also, the Moderna doses will be administered as a second dose, with priority given to people who got their first Moderna shot before July 16. There are around 1.5 million people who fall in this group, according to the CECC.

As the inspection process of the vaccines will take around 10 days, Chen said the new batch of Moderna doses could be administered as early as Oct. 22.