Taiwan has rolled out the Moderna COVID vaccine. Seventy thousand doses from Taiwan''s first and only Moderna shipment have been distributed among hospitals, for use on staff who provide COVID care. There''s another 80,000 doses remaining in the batch, and they''ll be reserved for use on the same priority group, as the second dose of a full vaccine regimen. So far Taiwan has signed contracts to purchase 20 million doses from a variety of sources. The Central Epidemic Command Center expects two more Moderna shipments to arrive by the end of the month, containing 100,000 doses each.

After completing inspection early, Taiwan’s first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine rolled out at 127 hospitals nationwide on Wednesday. The CECC expects the supply to be used up in as little as two or three days.

Su Tseng-chang
We are very grateful to the Food and Drug Administration, and to the team at Zuellig Pharma, for working so hard in a warehouse at minus 20 degrees Celsius to finish the job as soon as possible. These vaccines will be used at hospitals to vaccinate front-line medical staff.

This is the first time that two COVID vaccine brands are available at the same time. But vaccine clinics don’t foresee fights breaking out over who gets which vaccine.

Hung Tzu-jen
Shinkong Wu Ho-su Memorial Hospital
The majority of staff at medical institutions – more than 95% of staff – have already been vaccinated with AstraZeneca. Only a small percentage remains, for instance those who have been advised against AZ because they’re not suitable recipients. For instance, pregnant women or persons at risk of blood clots.

Lee Ping-ing
CECC specialist advisory panel
During clinical trials, these two vaccines showed different degrees of efficacy, different by dozens of percentage points. But in the real world, as these vaccines roll out at a large scale, we are not seeing much difference between brands.

So far in Taiwan’s vaccination campaign, 740,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered. Vaccination with Moderna is underway, using 70,000 doses from Taiwan’s first shipment. The rest of the shipment will be used as the second of a two-dose course. The stocks are reserved for front-line medical workers in the top two risk groups, that is, those who work at COVID care wards and others exposed to COVID patients. Later this week on Friday, 1.24 million AstraZeneca doses from Japan are expected to finish inspection. They could roll out as early as next Tuesday, with 1.2 million doses reserved for people aged 75 and up, dialysis patients, exam proctors and people in designated vital industries. The goal is to have 10 million doses reach Taiwan by August, officials say.

About 2.11 million doses have arrived so far, so there’s still a long way to go. The CECC expects two more Moderna shipments to arrive by the end of June, containing 100,000 doses each.