Former members of the Wild Lily student movement on Thursday launched an “I Support Taiwan Vaccine” campaign, urging people to register to receive locally produced COVID-19 vaccines.
Taiwan having its own vaccines is like having a bulletproof vest — they can save your life, Taipei City Hospital Renai Branch director of emergency services Chien Li-chien (簡立建) said, adding: “We must take this road of research and development, and domestic production.”
“Production is a strategic benefit and the nation must take control of it,” Chien said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The campaign had received 8,082 signatures on its official Web site as of press time last night.
The Central Epidemic Command Center on Wednesday said that on Aug. 23, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp would become part of Taiwan’s inoculation program.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 19 granted emergency use authorization for the Medigen vaccine.
However, the company has yet to conduct phase 3 trials.
The FDA authorized the vaccine because those given it had neutralizing antibodies that compared favorably to those generated in people given AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, a concept known as immunobridging.
National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of Journalism director Hung Chen-ling (洪貞玲) said that the I Support Taiwan Vaccine campaign aims to boost support for Medigen’s product and other domestic vaccines still in development.
The campaign’s main objectives include calling for production of Taiwanese-made vaccines to continue, having them undergo clinical trials, obtaining international approval and eventually adding to the global supply, Hung said.
“By doing so, Taiwan — as a member of the international community — can contribute more to containing the pandemic,” she said.
Lee Chung-hsi (李崇僖), a professor in Taipei Medical University’s Graduate Institute of Health and Biotechnology Law, said that Taiwan has good talent and the industry expertise to develop its biotechnology sector.
“However, we have been limited by changing government policies, while public figures have played politics to attack domestic production,” Lee said. “If this persists, it would undermine Taiwan’s future in biotechnology.”
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