The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has shortened the interval between getting a second COVID-19 vaccine shot and a booster dose to 12 weeks effective immediately, it said yesterday.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the decision to shorten the interval was made on Thursday evening after consultation with members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The interval was previously set at five months, but a preliminary consensus was reached to shorten it to 12 weeks, beginning yesterday, to address an outbreak of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the commission said in a statement.
Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times
Any person who has received two shots of the Medigen, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can choose any of those brands or the AstraZeneca vaccine for a booster shot, Chen said.
Only a half-dose of the Moderna vaccine would be administered as a booster, in keeping with the company’s recommendation, he added.
Chen suggested that people who received two AstraZeneca jabs should choose a different brand as a booster for better protection.
Taiwan is well-stocked with vaccines, and those eligible for boosters can schedule a shot through their local health department, the CECC said.
When asked whether the center would reopen its vaccine registration platform, Chen said: “I do not know if everyone wants the jabs.”
The center is to gauge the level of public demand for booster shots from local government reports before making a decision, he added.
Separately, Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) told a news conference that the city’s vaccine booking platform (https://booking.health.gov.tw) would reopen from 9am to 5pm today.
Taipei residents who were given a second vaccine dose before Oct. 18 last year and those otherwise eligible for the first or second doses should register for shots, which are to begin on Monday at the earliest and continue through Friday next week, he said.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) also urged eligible residents to take boosters to prevent the spread of the virus.
New Taipei City Department of Health Director Chen Jun-chiu (陳潤秋) said that about 1.28 million city residents are eligible for a third dose, while 32,517 people have already received booster shots.
Additional reporting by Huang Chiao-hsiang and He Yu-hua
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