Taipei yesterday started offering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines to people in the top three priority groups for vaccination through arranged sessions, as well as to other eligible recipients at 18 hospitals in the city, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday last week said that, in response to the global threat of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, people who have been fully vaccinated for more than five months are eligible to receive an additional booster shot, effective immediately.
The center added that most of those who have been fully vaccinated for five months are people in the top three priority groups for vaccination, including healthcare workers, non-healthcare workers at healthcare facilities, government disease prevention personnel and frontline workers who are at a higher risk of infection.
Ko said that with the Omicron variant spreading, South Korea, which has a full vaccination coverage of more than 80 percent, still reported more than 4,000 new infections yesterday, so Taiwan needs to be vigilant, as the nation’s full vaccination rate is only about 60 percent.
As of Saturday, the first-dose vaccination rate among Taipei residents was 74.8 percent and the full vaccination rate was 60.2 percent, he said.
Some people have yet to be vaccinated, he said, urging them to get vaccinated while the local COVID-19 situation is relatively safe.
People who have not received their second dose have three options to get vaccinated: booking an appointment through the national online vaccination booking system, directly booking an appointment with one of the 15 designated healthcare facilities in the city, or registering on-site at one of the 14 designated hospitals in the city, he said.
The city’s healthcare facilities are responsible for ensuring that their employees receive a booster shot, he added.
As for people in the second and third priority groups, the Taipei Department of Health would ask the establishments to submit a list of eligible recipients and arrange special sessions for them to receive a booster shot, Ko said.
People who are not able to make it to the arranged sessions can get their jab afterward at one designated hospital per administration district, he added.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said people who are planning to travel abroad and other eligible recipients for the booster shot can also book an appointment with one of 18 designated hospitals in the city.
With a batch of Moderna vaccines due to expire on Thursday, from yesterday to Thursday, the city government is offering NT$100 gift certificates to encourage people to get their shot — be it their first, second or third dose, Ko said.
There are still about 375,000 Taipei residents who have yet to be vaccinated, Tsai said, urging them to do so as soon as possible.
As for the CECC’s mandatory full vaccination order for workers at 24 types of establishments supervised by the education, economics, labor, and health and welfare ministries, Ko said the city government would strictly enforce the order, and workers who are unwilling to get vaccinated must undergo a COVID-19 test every week.
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