《TAIPEI TIMES》 Moderna vaccine under FDA review
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Feb. 19. Photo: AP
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
Taiwan is reviewing an emergency use authorization application by Moderna Inc for its COVID-19 vaccine, the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） said yesterday.
The center had secured 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
However, as Moderna does not have a branch in Taiwan, the Centers for Disease Control （CDC） has forwarded the documents provided by the company and applied to the Food and Drug Administration （FDA） for an emergency use authorization, said CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥）, who is the CECC’s spokesman.
The application is being reviewed by the FDA, he said.
Meanwhile, the COVAX global vaccine distribution platform has yet to inform the CECC about when it would deliver the first batch of the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine to Taiwan.
COVAX was supposed to announce a delivery schedule by late last month.
Chuang said Taiwan’s representative office in Geneva, Switzerland, made an inquiry on the matter with COVAX, upon the CECC’s request.
COVAX said it is still dealing with some issues and currently cannot inform each country when it would receive the first batch of vaccines, he said, adding that the delay is not solely targeted at Taiwan.
Separately yesterday, the CECC reported an imported case of COVID-19 — a Taiwanese student who returned from Poland.
The student traveled to Poland in September last year, returned to Taiwan on Jan. 28 and was quarantined at a relative’s residence without showing any symptoms, Chuang said.
The student on Feb. 12 returned to his home to undergo self-health management, he added.
He underwent a paid polymerase chain reaction （PCR） test at a hospital on Friday, as he was planning to return to Poland for study, and the test result came back positive the same day, with a cycle threshold value of 35, indicating a low viral load, Chuang said.
The student tested negative in a second PCR test on Saturday, while his antibody tests came back negative for IgM antibodies and positive for IgG antibodies, so he likely contracted the disease a while ago in Poland, he added.
Taiwan has had 919 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 27 patients being isolated in hospital for treatment, Chuang said.
As of Saturday, the COVID-19 incidence rate in Taiwan is four per 100,000 people, while the global incidence rate is 1,473.5 per 100,000 people, said CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw （周志浩）, head of the CECC’s disease surveillance division.
Taiwan ranked 186th among 193 countries with regard to incidence rates, and most of the countries with lower incidence rates have smaller populations than Taiwan, he said.
COVID-19 deaths per million in Taiwan is about 0.4, which ranks the nation 179th among 193 countries, he added.
The infection fatality rate in Taiwan is about 0.9, while the global infection fatality rate is about 2.2, which suggests that Taiwan has taken good care of its COVID-19 patients, Chou said.