《TAIPEI TIMES》 Eligibility for Moderna jab expanded
A woman swipes her identity card at the entrance of Nanmen Market in Taipei yesterday. The government has implemented staggered admission to crowded shopping venues according to the last digit of people’s identity or resident certificate numbers. Photo: CNA
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group.
The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services.
Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the center, said that the eligibility was expanded to speed up the vaccination process.
All people in the first priority group, including “registered healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities,” as well as “non-healthcare workers at centralized quarantine facilities” were eligible, he said.
A total of 6,171 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and 9,507 doses of the Moderna vaccine had as of Friday been administered across the nation, CECC data showed.
The AstraZeneca vaccine and the Moderna vaccine use different types of technology, so it does not recommend that a person be given one jab of one brand and another of the other brand, unless a serious allergic or adverse reaction occurs after the fist inoculation, the center said.
On Friday, the CECC said that 500,000 doses of a batch of 1.24 million AstraZeneca vaccines donated by Japan had been distributed to local governments, and could be administered to eligible people in the top six priority groups.
The vaccinations should begin on Tuesday next week, Chen said yesterday, adding that people in the top three priority groups who have not received a first dose would be eligible.
Long-term care center workers and residents, and dialysis patients would also be eligible, he said, adding that the doses would be administered to the respective groups at the centers and dialysis facilities.
Members of the general public aged 75 or older （born before or on Dec. 31, 1946）, Aborigines aged 64 or older （born before or on Dec. 31, 1956） and everyone who has received a first dose 10 to 12 weeks earlier would also be eligible, Chen said.
Local governments should follow a set of principles when offering the AstraZeneca vaccines, Chen said.
Only eligible people should be given the vaccines; local governments should implement social distancing measures at vaccine sites; they should publicize vaccine locations on their Web sites and inform the CECC about the sites; and they should set up vaccine information hotlines, Chen said.
Prosecutors and forensic scientists might be added to the vaccine priority list, as those groups frequently come into contact with the bodies of those who died from COVID-19, Chen said.
Boxes of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine valid until the middle of October are displayed in Changhua County yesterday. Photo: Liu Hsiao-hsin, Taipei Times
Healthcare workers receive COVID-19 vaccine shots at Chiayi Municipal Sports Park Gymnasium in Chiayi City yesterday. Photo: Wang Shan-yen, Taipei Times