《TAIPEI TIMES》 Vaccine doses approved for youngest kids
A child receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a children’s vaccination station in Taipei on June 3. Photo: CNA
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices （ACIP） yesterday approved COVID-19 vaccines for children aged six months to five years old, and booster shots for those aged five to 11.
The committee also approved the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults and expanded the eligibility criteria for second booster shots at its meeting yesterday, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥）, who is also the Central Epidemic Command Center’s （CECC） spokesman.
“As COVID-19 is spreading in local communities, the committee recommended that children aged six months to five years be inoculated against COVID-19 to reduce the risk of severe illness or death,” Chuang said.
The CECC said 450,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine — which can supply up to 900,000 shots for the youngest age group — are to arrive early next month and be administered later in the month.
Only the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorization in Taiwan for children aged six months to five years, he said, adding that the ACIP recommended an interval between doses of four to eight weeks.
For the five-to-11 age group, the committee recommended an additional dose of vaccine for the immunosuppressed or immunocompromised at least 28 days after their second dose, he said.
For the same age group, those who have had two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — their primary series — are advised to get their booster shot at least five months, or 150 days, following their last dose, he added.
Airline crew members and people working at airports, harbors, quarantine facilities and social welfare facilities are recommended to get a second booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least five months following their first booster shot, Chuang said.
The committee approved the Novavax vaccine for people aged 18 or older as their primary series or a booster shot, he said, adding that it can be mixed and matched with other vaccine brands.
The committee also suggested that people who have had COVID-19, but did not experience acute symptoms, get their vaccine shot at least three months after the onset of symptoms or the date of diagnosis, he said.
“Current data suggest that extending the period between COVID-19 infection and post-infection vaccination can increase vaccine-induced immune protection, as well as reduce the risk of reinfection,” he said.
Infected people who are released from isolation and no longer have acute COVID-19 symptoms can be vaccinated earlier with a doctor’s assessment and if they meet one of three criteria: They are at a higher risk of infection due to their job, they are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised, or vaccination is a requirement for them to enter other countries.
Additional reporting by CNA