Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Taiwan’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6-11 Wednesday, as well as third doses for the 12-17 age group and fourth doses for certain high-risk groups.
The Moderna vaccine is the first in Taiwan to be approved for children under 12 years old.
Under the ACIP’s guidelines, two 0.25 milliliter doses of the vaccine, each containing 50 micrograms of mRNA — half of the adult dosage — will be administered to the 6-11 age group with a minimum interval of 12 weeks, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said in a statement.
The CECC will arrange for children to receive the vaccine in schools, as was the case with 12-17-year-olds, and they will also have the option to get the vaccine in hospitals.
The rollout is expected to begin in early May, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told reporters.
Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 6-11 on Sunday, after determining that the vaccine met the necessary safety and efficacy requirements.
The ACIP also decided Wednesday to allow those in the 12-17 age group to get a booster shot at least five months after receiving their second dose, the CECC statement said.
The 12-17 age group has been approved to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine, though Taiwan has run out of the former at present, according to the CECC.
As this age group only began to receive their second shot in mid-December, the rollout of booster doses will begin in mid-May at the earliest, Chuang said.
Also on Wednesday, the ACIP approved giving a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to seniors aged 65 and above, as well as for residents of long-term care facilities.
Individuals aged 18 and above who are immunocompromised have also been given the approval to receive a fifth vaccine dose. This group was previously approved to get an additional dose due to their weakened immune systems and a booster dose, the CECC said.
These include cancer patients who have received treatment to suppress their immune system in the past year; organ or stem cell transplant recipients; people with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency; dialysis patients; people with HIV; people taking medications that weaken the immune systems; and people who have received chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the past six months.
Those receiving their fourth or fifth vaccine dose should get it at least five months after their last shot, and they can choose between the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Medigen, or Novavax brands, the CECC said.
Taiwan has not yet received any doses of the Novavax vaccine, though the CECC announced in March that the country had ordered around 2 million doses of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine through the global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX.
To date, 84.24 percent of Taiwan’s population has gotten at least one dose, 79.49 percent has gotten two doses, and 55.99 percent has received a third dose, CECC data shows.
(By Chiang Yi-ching)
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