The government should save doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that are expected to arrive in Taiwan for junior-high and high-school students, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday, despite the health minister earlier saying that preparations are being made to do so.
The WHO’s “COVID-19 Vaccines Advice” Web page says that the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts considers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine “suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above,” the KMT said in a statement.
The European Medicines Agency has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15; the US Food and Drug Administration has expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to include adolescents aged 12 to 15; and the French government has allowed people aged 12 and above to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with parental consent, the KMT said.
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) via CNA
KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) told an online news conference that despite the US’ and EU’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use by adolescents aged 12 to 18, she has so far not seen the government make special arrangements to reserve doses for adolescents in its procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
There is demand for COVID-19 vaccinations among adolescents, she said, urging the government to include junior-high and high-school students among those to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
Thanks to the efforts of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, the nation is likely to receive a total of 15 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, said KMT Legislator Lin Yi-hua (林奕華), who sits on the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee.
If some of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines could be reserved for students, parents would feel better about sending them back to school, she said.
However, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), on Monday said that as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one the nation would receive that has been approved for use among those aged 12 and above, the CECC would prioritize teenagers when administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines donated by Gou.
The ministry’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Sunday had already begun preparations for immunizing teenagers, Chen said.
As of the end of last month, there were about 1.4 million people aged 12 to 18 in Taiwan, the KMT said, citing demographic data from the Ministry of the Interior.
Administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 18 would not prevent individuals in COVID-19 vaccination priority groups 1 to 10 from receiving vaccinations, it said.
Regarding vaccination sites, Steve Wu (吳政鴻), vice president of the Taipei Federation of Parents’ Associations of Junior High School Students, said that the government should consider allowing students to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations at school to reduce their risk of infection from going elsewhere to receive the shots.
“It is the government’s responsibility and duty to protect the next generation,” the KMT said.
With less than two months before school returns from summer break, the government should plan ahead, it said.
Although it is uncertain when the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are to arrive, the government should make arrangements for junior-high and high-school students to receive them as soon as possible, it said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
‘SUSPENDED’: The restrictions are likely to have a greater effect on seafood producers, as exports of food and drinks to China had already decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic China’s customs administration late on Monday announced bans on more than 100 Taiwanese food brands ahead of a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Beijing said that the blacklisted exporters — which include tea, honey and seafood producers — failed to renew their export registration and could therefore only sell their products until the end of this month. The exporters may submit additional documents this month, Food and Drug Administration Director Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said, adding that the agency would help them complete their registrations. The bans might be politically motivated, as Taiwanese manufacturers were treated differently than
MISSILE PATHS: Certain information on the Chinese missile fire was not disclosed to maintain secrecy over military intelligence-gathering capabilities, the MND said Military experts yesterday speculated on the implication of the government’s tight-lipped response and the lack of air-raid sirens during the first day of China’s military drills the previous day. On Thursday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched 11 Dongfeng-series ballistic missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan, a day after US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s departure from the country, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that China fired nine missiles toward Taiwan, including four that flew over Taiwan proper. However, China’s exhibition of force failed to terrorize the local populace, because
UNDER WATCH: Taiwan will have to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, the CDC said The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus. A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China. The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong
Legislators across party lines yesterday welcomed US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, marking the first time in 25 years that an incumbent US House speaker has visited the nation. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) cited the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) support for Pelosi’s visit — including from senior party members KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — as evidence that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) foreign diplomacy is on the right course. Pelosi’s visit has special meaning for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region as a whole, DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said. The