Taiwan receives updated Moderna vaccine against Omicron BA.4/5
Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Taiwan took delivery of another shipment of the second-generation Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that targets the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.
The shipment, which arrived at Taoyuan International Airport in the morning, contained 613,000 doses of the vaccine, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a press briefing.
The vaccine is authorized for use as booster shot for people 12 years old and over, Chuang said, adding that the new batch has an expiration date of June 12, 2023.
He said the new shipment will be put into cold storage and inspected, before its distribution to local governments on Dec. 2.
On Nov. 10, Taiwan took delivery of its first shipment of the second-generation Moderna vaccine, containing some 700,000 doses, which are being administered as a single booster shot against both the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
Taiwan has received some 4.31 million doses of the second-generation Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccines to date, 2.99 million of which are for the Omicron BA.1 subvariant. The other doses, including Thursday's shipment, are for the BA.4 and BA.5, the CECC said.
According to CECC data as of Thursday, 74.2 percent of Taiwan's population had received one booster shot, and 17.1 percent two booster shots.
Meanwhile, CECC head Victor Wang (王必勝) said Wednesday that Taiwan's mandate for mask wearing outdoors may be lifted in December.
At a press event on Thursday, however, head of the CECC's Medical Response Division Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said that decision will depend on whether the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan continues to abate, among other conditions.
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