Update: Taiwan inks new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deal, approves use for children (April 28)
Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Taiwan will sign a procurement contract in the coming days to purchase about 4 million Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Thursday.
The order will consist of 1.8 million doses for adults and 2.2 million doses for children, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) cited Su as saying after a meeting earlier that day.
Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized on April 17 the use of the Moderna vaccine for children aged 6-11, but the decision has sparked concerns from parents that it might not be safe for children.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 6-11 is expected to begin on May 2. However, the only vaccine available for children in Taiwan currently is Moderna.
At Thursday’s daily Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) press briefing, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said he hoped the first batch of the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines would arrive by mid-May.
Meanwhile, Taipei will start its vaccination program for children aged 6-11 on May 5, according to the city’s Department of Education.
Tseng Tsan-chin (曾燦金), head of the city’s education department, said at a Taipei City Council Education Committee hearing that there are 165 elementary schools across the city and that Taipei expects to complete the vaccination program that month.
Students will be inoculated in groups at school, while children with special needs will be asked to visit specially opened out‑patient clinics to receive their vaccines, Tseng said.
According to the education department’s data, about 125,300 elementary students across the 165 schools are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but it is estimated that roughly 60,000 students will get inoculated because only 48 percent of parents are willing to have their children receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Taiwan is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 11,517 cases on Thursday, representing a 29-percent jump from the 8,932 cases reported Wednesday, which itself was a 40-percent jump from the 6,339 cases reported on Tuesday.
(By Lai Yu-chen, Liu Chien-pang, and William Yen)


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