People who have received only one dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can register today in the online national vaccination booking system to receive Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech as their second dose, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
The system would accept bookings for the mix-and-match approach from 10am to 4pm today, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman.
Only those aged 18 or older with one dose of AstraZeneca are eligible, he added.
Photo: Tsai Wen-chu, Taipei Times
Online, people could choose Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech as their preferred second dose, or select both, indicating their order of preference, Chuang said.
Those preferring to receive AstraZeneca as their second dose would not need to make any changes in the system, he said.
The system would be down temporarily from 5pm yesterday to 10am today, he added.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, provided preliminary findings of a clinical trial on the mix-and-match approach conducted at National Taiwan University Hospital.
Those who received AstraZeneca and Moderna showed a stronger immune response than those with two doses of AstraZeneca, but about the same as those with two doses of Moderna, he said.
Those who received AstraZeneca and Moderna with an eight-week interval showed a slightly stronger immune response than a group that received the same combination with an interval of four weeks, he said.
Those who received AstraZeneca and Moderna did report having more side effects after the second dose, compared with those who received two doses of AstraZeneca, Lo said.
As batches of the three brands have recently arrived — providing a stable supply — the center has adjust the recommended interval for them, Chuang said.
It recommends eight weeks for AstraZeneca, and four weeks for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, Chuang said.
Those eligible can make arrangements in the online system or book directly with healthcare facilities designated by local health departments, Chuang added.
“Many countries now require arrivals to be ‘fully vaccinated,’ so we encourage those planning to travel abroad, as well as young people, to get vaccinated,” he said.
On Tuesday, 216,664 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered, bringing the nation’s first-dose vaccination rate to 76.58 percent and the full vaccination rate to 43.69 percent, he said.
Asked about booster shots, Chuang said that by Jan. 31, only about 263,000 people in Taiwan would have had their second dose for more than six months.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is to hold a meeting on the need for a booster shot, he said, adding that the committee would consider vaccine supply, people’s willingness, research studies and the experience of countries offering booster shots, among other factors.
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