With a steady stream of imports of AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines, as well as the locally developed Medigen, several different brands of vaccines will end up being administered at the same time. Moreover, flu shots will begin in October, and that means as many as five different vaccines will be administered simultaneously. This has made primary care providers concerned about the increasing potential for vaccine mix-ups. To help in tracing possible adverse reactions, the CECC is reminding everyone to separate flu and COVID shots by at least a week.

The roll-out of COVID vaccines has been gaining steam with batches of AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer arriving one after the other, and locally made Medigen added to the list. This has the country potentially on target for earlier than expected 60% single vaccination coverage by mid-October. However, COVID jabs are running up against the flu vaccination season, raising concerns amongst primary care clinics about administering all these vaccines simultaneously.

Lin Ing-jan

R.O.C. Primary Care Physicians'' Association

Usually all of one vaccine company''s supply will get used up before receiving another company''s. This is controlled by the health authorities. So, let''s say this week''s vaccine is AstraZeneca, we wouldn''t receive a whole week''s quantity. Usually we''ll have one or two days worth of doses in our refrigerators, and once they''re used up, we''ll receive more, so it can get a bit complicated.

Looking at the sequence for vaccinations, the appointment platform is at the eighth round of AstraZeneca, and opening up to the first group of senior recipients of Moderna to receive their second dose. Pfizer vaccinations for schools across Taiwan are concentrated on Sept. 22, and starting on the 25th, Pfizer vaccines will be administered to members of the public who''ve made a reservation online. Starting on the 28th, the recently arrived 1.08 million doses of Moderna will be given to seniors for their 2nd dose. Then on Oct. 3, Medigen will be rolled out as a second dose vaccine, and if we add in the flu vaccinations that would begin on Oct. 1, that makes five kinds of vaccines in the mix to sort out.

Lee Ping-ing

CECC Specialist Advisory Committee member

That shouldn''t be too big of a problem. What''s important is verifying the vaccination records of people, because people might get the wrong vaccine. Sometimes someone''s record is incomplete, so then there''s no way to verify accurately what vaccine the person had before. That can increase the chances for a mix-up.

The CECC encourages everyone not to worry. If prior vaccination is verified then there won''t be any vaccination errors. But be sure to keep in mind that COVID and flu shots require a one week separation.

Chang Shan-chwen

CECC specialist advisory panel convener

Because in general vaccinations that result in adverse reactions mostly happen within seven days, and in order to avoid uncertainty around these incidents, and exactly which vaccine caused it, we separate by seven days.

Experts advise that the risk of vaccination mistakes is greatly reduced by people proactively providing their vaccination history and medical providers doing a double check on the system prior to giving someone a jab.