The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program arrived yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that, after testing, it would be able to distribute them by Monday next week at the earliest.
The 199,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped from Amsterdam on a China Airlines (中華航空) plane and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 5:21am.
After the cargo was examined and release procedures were completed at the airport, the Aviation Police Bureau escorted the vehicles carrying the vaccines to a cold chain storage facility.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) spokesperson, said that the batch would expire on May 31, while the AstraZeneca vaccine currently being administered expires on June 15, so the center might consider expanding vaccination eligibility.
Taiwan has so far received 316,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as the first batch that arrived last month comprised 117,000 doses.
The FDA said that it would have to complete a document review and seven types of tests on the new batch of vaccines before releasing them for distribution.
Chuang said that as vaccine recipients are required to receive a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine at least eight weeks after the first, the center is leaning toward administering the 199,200 doses of vaccine as a first dose only, in hopes that they would be used up before they expire.
Meanwhile, Taiwan yesterday reported two imported cases of COVID-19: a Taiwanese man who returned on a medical charter flight and an Indonesian student.
The Taiwanese man is in his 60s, works in the Philippines and tested positive for COVID-19 last week after he had a fever on March 23, and also experienced shortness of breath and loss of taste on Monday and Tuesday last week, Chuang said.
The man boarded a medical charter flight on Friday and was hospitalized and tested after arriving in Taiwan on Saturday, he said.
His test for COVID-19 came back positive yesterday, Chuang said, adding that he has pneumonia and is receiving oxygen through a nasal catheter, but does not need a ventilator or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
The Indonesian student is in his 20s, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday, and experienced a fever, runny nose and headache on Friday at a centralized quarantine facility, he said.
The 14 passengers who sat close to him on the flight to Taiwan have been placed under home isolation, Chuang added.
Citigroup Inc plans to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia, and the region of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The bank would instead operate its consumer-banking franchise in both regions from four wealth centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London, it said yesterday in a statement. The move is part of an ongoing review of the company’s strategy by chief executive officer Jane Fraser, who took over last month. “This positions us to capture the strong growth and attractive returns the wealth-management business offers through these important hubs,” Fraser said. Citigroup is to exit its consumer
CONFIDENTIAL: The trip had not been made public until just before ex-senator Chris Dodd, and ex-state department officials Richard Armitage and James Steinberg arrived The government yesterday welcomed an “unofficial” delegation sent by US President Joe Biden, while another delegation led by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry was headed to Shanghai. Biden’s first delegation to Taiwan is made up of former US senator Chris Dodd, and former US deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg. They are to stay in Taiwan until tomorrow. Their arrival, on a chartered flight, had been kept confidential until media reported the visit yesterday morning, after which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a short notice that they were expected to arrive at 2:40pm. The flight landed at
MORE TRUSTWORTHY? While officials investigate whether the shelf life of AstraZeneca vaccines can be extended, the Moderna jab might boost inoculations Shipments of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are due to arrive in Taiwan next month, while another batch of AstraZeneca vaccines allotted to Taiwan under the COVAX program is due to arrive by June, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that the Moderna vaccines might arrive at the end of this month or next month. The center in February said that Moderna had agreed to supply about 5 million doses to Taiwan, although at the time the center estimated that they would arrive in the middle of this year. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥),
STANDING TOGETHER: The allies highlighted the importance of cross-strait peace in Japan’s first statement with the US on Taiwan since it switched diplomatic recognition The US and Japan on Friday vowed to stand firm together against an assertive China, and to step up cooperation on climate change and next-generation technology as US President Joe Biden made his first summit a show of alliance unity. Waiting nearly three months for his first foreign guest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden told Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that his country enjoyed “our iron-clad support” on security issues and beyond. “We’re going to work together to prove that democracies can still compete and win in the 21st century,” Biden told reporters, affectionately calling the Japanese leader “Yoshi.” A joint