Taiwan receives first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 drug Paxlovid
Taipei, Jan. 27 (CNA) Taiwan on Thursday received its first batch of Pfizer's COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid, as well as its final shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
The delivery of Paxlovid contains 3,200 courses of the 20,000 that Taiwan has ordered, CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said at a press briefing.
Paxlovid can be prescribed to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 within five days of the onset of symptoms for adults and children aged 12 and above with a minimum weight of 40 kilograms, if they are assessed to be at high risk of developing severe illness, according to Chang.
COVID-19 patients may be considered high-risk if they are 65 years old and above, have a body mass index (BMI) above 25, have chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, or are immunocompromised, Chang said.
Paxlovid is the second antiviral COVID-19 drug Taiwan has received, following Merck's molnupiravir, the first delivery of which arrived on Monday. Merck is also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) outside the United States and Canada.
Taiwan is the first country in Asia to have received both Paxlovid and molnupiravir, Chang said.
Also on Thursday, Taiwan received its final shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, containing 918,400 doses that expire on May 25, according to the CECC.
Taiwan has received 15.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in total, slightly more than the 15 million ordered by Hon Hai Precision Co./YongLin Charity, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. The doses have been donated to the government for distribution.
At the CECC's press briefing on Thursday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) thanked the organizations involved for procuring the vaccine doses for Taiwan.
To date, Taiwan has received over 42.88 million COVID-19 vaccine doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca brands.
Currently, 81.48 percent of Taiwan's population of 23.37 million has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 74.22 percent have gotten two jabs. An additional 0.67 percent have been given an additional dose and 20.37 percent have received a booster shot, CECC data shows.
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