Taipei, April 15 (CNA) A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the American pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc. will arrive in Taiwan in May, the first in an order of 5.05 million doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.
The CECC announced on Feb. 10 that Taiwan had purchased 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which it said were expected to be delivered between May and June.
At a press briefing on Thursday, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the first Moderna shipment will arrive in May.
In addition, a new shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines will be delivered before June 15, Chuang said.
To date, Taiwan has received 117,000 vaccine doses purchased directly from AstraZeneca, with an expiration date of June 15, and 199,200 of the same brand supplied through COVAX, which are due to expire on May 31.
Taiwan has signed contracts to purchase 5.05 million doses of Moderna, 10 million doses of AstraZeneca, and 4.76 million doses of unspecified brands through the COVAX program, which has so far allocated 1.02 million AstraZeneca shots to Taiwan.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in Taiwan on March 22, some 28,465 people have received their first shots, meaning that an average of 1,180 are being vaccinated per day, according to CECC data valid as of Thursday morning.
According to the CECC, 618,000 people are currently eligible to receive the jab.
In response to reporters' questions, Chuang said the CECC is doing its best to encourage people to take the vaccine before the AstraZeneca doses expire.
The CECC is also reaching out to AstraZeneca to see if the company would conduct more stability tests on the vaccine, Chuang said.
If AstraZeneca does not extend the vaccine's shelf life, expired doses will be destroyed, Chuang said.