Monday’s island-wide rollout of the Medigen Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Taipei-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation, comes after the drug was approved for emergency use last month by Taiwanese authorities for anyone above 20 years old, with at least 28 days between the two doses.
Paul Torkehagen, Medigen’s director of overseas business development, told CNN in May that the company designed a “very large” phase 2 clinical trial to ensure the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, with 3,800 participants. Normally, a stage 2 clinical trial only involves several hundred people. Data from the trials showed that 99.8% of participants were able to form antibodies against Covid-19 after taking two doses of the vaccine, Medigen’s CEO Charles Chen said.
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control said in a July 19 statement that the vaccine posed no serious health effects.
“Taking the vaccine can protect yourself, your family, as well as medical staff,” Tsai wrote. “Let’s do our part in boosting Taiwan’s collective defense against the virus!”
Fewer than 5% of Taiwan’s population has received both doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, according to Reuters, as the island delays second dose vaccinations so more people can receive a first shot.
But Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung said current Covid-19 restrictions — which include the closure of bars and nightclubs — would remain in place until at least September 6, with the possibility of an extension if the global outbreak continued to grow.
Taiwan could become increasingly isolated if it keeps pursuing its “Covid zero” strategy, with both Australia and New Zealand hinting they might abandon the approach once vaccinations reach a certain level.
“This is what living with Covid is all about. The case numbers will likely rise when we soon begin to open up. That is inevitable,” he said.
“At some point we will have to start to be more open in the future,” he said.
Additional reporting from Reuters.