Taiwan purchases 5 million AZ vaccines for booster shots

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) revealed on Thursday that the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) has purchased another 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines in preparation for booster shots in the future.

In addition, the Health Minister added that those who fall into the first to third vaccination priority groups (medical personnel, local government virus-prevention personnel, flight crews, and designated drivers for travelers) will be able to receive their third vaccine shot (booster shots) five months after their second jab.

Though central government epidemic-prevention officials are included in the second priority group, they are not included in the booster shot plan, for now, Chen said.

He added that the 5 million AZ vaccines had been purchased in November and will arrive in batches starting in 2022. The vaccines may consist of the regular ones we have administered already, but may also contain the new, next-generation vaccines that would be available after production is confirmed, Chen explained.

He further stated that the reasons for shortening the time period between the second dose of vaccine and the third booster shot vaccines from six months to five months is due to necessity.

Chen remarked that members of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s (MOHW, 衛福部) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) had suggested the interval to be six months, but added that it could be shortened to five months if necessary.

He added that there had been extensive discussions on the subject and that the ACIP would give an official announcement later today.