Taipei, Taiwan (AP) —Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen received the first dose of the domestically developed coronavirus vaccine on the island on Monday and was open to the public.
The vaccine produced by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. received urgent approval from regulators in July using a shortcut that prompted fierce opposition from parts of Taiwan’s medical and scientific community.
Taiwanese regulators have bypassed the large, long-term studies commonly used to approve vaccines. Instead, the level of antibody that Medigen’s vaccine was able to produce was compared to the level of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which was approved by many governments and underwent all three-stage clinical trials.
A two-dose Medigen protein subunit vaccine uses a portion of the coronavirus to teach the body to initiate an immune response.
Decision to give approval based on new criteria Prompted an expert Resign from the Vaccine Advisory Board.
Critics say that giving approval before completing a complete clinical trial does not provide enough information about how effective the vaccine is in protection from COVID-19 in the real world. Early studies may have promising results.
Although blood antibody levels are known to correlate with disease protection, scientists still do not know what the exact levels are.
Regulators said Medigen must submit actual validity data within one year of approval. They said that when approving the vaccine, the data provided by Medigen showed that they produced 3.4 times higher levels of neutralizing antibodies than the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Tsai received the first dose of the vaccine on Monday morning at the National Taiwan University Gymnasium in Taipei. Like any other patient, she checked in her appointment by inserting her National Health Insurance Card into a computer system.
After the nurse gave her a shot, she flashed the OK sign with her hand.
As of last Friday, 40% of Taiwan’s population of 23 million had been vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine. The island’s vaccination policy is to prioritize the first injection, and only the highest-risk groups, such as health care workers, will receive the first two full doses.
This is a major leap from May when less than 5% of the population was vaccinated.
During the pandemic, Taiwan remained largely free of COVID-19 for a year and a half until the outbreak caused by the alpha mutant spread throughout the island in May, prompting a major blockade.
At that time, Taiwan had only received the vaccine it purchased about 700,000 times. However, we were able to obtain about 5 million vaccines donated by Japan and the United States.