Taiwan orders further 36 million Moderna Covid-19 vaccine doses

With the order, Taiwan is seeking to lock in vaccine deliveries for the months ahead.
With the order, Taiwan is seeking to lock in vaccine deliveries for the months ahead.PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan has ordered a further 36 million doses of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine, the government said on Thursday (July 22), as it seeks to lock in deliveries for the months ahead.

Taiwan has received about nine million doses to date of vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca, including almost six million doses donated by Japan and the United States, enabling it to speed up its inoculation programme.

Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told reporters that the new order for Moderna vaccines, which comes on top of five million already ordered, was signed on Wednesday.

"This number is slightly more than the 30 million doses we had originally expected," Mr Lo said, though he declined to say when they might start arriving. "We must strive for smooth delivery according to the scheduled time."

Speaking later on Thursday, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the order consisted of one million doses for delivery by the end of this year, 20 million for next year, and 15 million for the year after that.

Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

More than 20 per cent of Taiwan's 23.5 million people have received at least one dose in the two-shot vaccine regimen.

A domestic outbreak of the coronavirus in Taiwan is now well under control after cases spiked in May, and the government is considering whether to lower the alert level.