The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged the government to purchase enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate the entire population, saying that young people have been left out of government vaccination plans.
Young people, like other age groups, are at risk of contracting COVID-19, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) told an online news conference from the KMT’s headquarters in Taipei.
Several people in their 30s or 40s have died of the disease, she said, adding: “Young people also need to be protected.”
The government has asked young people not to “slack off” regarding disease prevention measures and urged them to cooperate, including by avoiding travel during the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival long weekend, Wang said.
Meanwhile, young people “can only wait anxiously” for vaccines, she said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Tuesday told lawmakers that the nation would have received 10 million vaccine does by the end of August, but that amount would not even be enough to vaccinate the groups that have been prioritized in the government-funded vaccination program, she said.
Wang said that the vaccine procurement strategy of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration was “incorrect,” and accused the government of blocking attempts by private groups to secure shots.
If young people are to have access to vaccines, the government must speed up and try everything to bring more vaccines to Taiwan, Wang said.
Responsibilities such as work, education and military service, as well as their greater use of public transportation, put young people in a relatively dangerous position during the COVID-19 pandemic, KMT Youth Department director Chen Kuan-an (陳冠安) said.
As other countries move to authorize using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on people aged 12 to 17, none of the vaccine types included in Taiwan’s 30 million-dose purchasing plan have so far been approved internationally for use on adolescents, he said.
Nearly half of those 30 million doses are likely to be the AstraZeneca vaccine, and while it is “not a bad vaccine,” even the UK, where the vaccine was developed, does not advise that people aged 20 to 39 receive it, he said.
Although the ratio of young people developing severe cases of COVID-19 is relatively low, that does not mean they do not want to receive the vaccine, the KMT said.
It urged the government to obtain more vaccines to at least allow young people to be able to receive self-paid vaccinations.
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