The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month.
The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei.
In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8 million people have signed up, while Taiwan has received more than 8.9 million doses, Su said.
Thanks to the efforts of local governments, vaccination coverage reached 23.5 percent as of Wednesday, with more than 5.67 million people having received at least one dose, he added.
Yesterday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said that the rate had reached 24.35 percent.
The original target of 25 percent coverage by the end of this month is likely to be attained ahead of schedule, Su said, adding that the government now hopes to reach 30 percent.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei branch of Sankei Shimbun
More vaccine options are to be added on the registration site as soon as they arrive, he added, encouraging people to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation on Wednesday agreeded to buy 5 million doses of BioNTech’s vaccine, which paired with similar purchases by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密)-affiliated Yonglin Foundation, has brought contributions by private donors to 15 million doses, Su said.
These donations are the “most selfless contribution to the nation,” he said, extending his gratitude to the organizations on the government’s behalf.
With Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s (高端疫苗) vaccine receiving emergency use authorization, new progress in obtaining vaccines is being made every week, he said.
Su also thanked the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Food and Drug Administration and other experts for their hard work in safeguarding the nation’s health through science and professionalism.
In related news, a group of 88 businesses and organizations yesterday took out a full-page advertisement in Sankei Shimbun to thank Japan for its vaccine donations and to express their support on the eve of the Tokyo Olympic Games’ opening ceremony.
The newspaper ad features a Formosan black bear and the Japanese folk hero Momotaro competing on the same tug-of-war team, with text saying that Taiwan will never forget Japan’s friendship during the pandemic.
Japan has donated 3.34 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan in three batches since June 4.
The Taiwan-Japan Cultural and Economic Association, which initiated the campaign, was founded in 1952 to facilitate exchanges between the two nations and boasts more than 200 members.
The US has also donated 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Taiwan.
Lithuania last month pledged to donate 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan, while Slovakia last week also pledged to donate 10,000 vaccine doses to Taiwan through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, with the vaccine brand to be determined.
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