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Taiwan to obtain variant-busting Novavax shots through COVAX global sharing scheme in bid to boost lagging inoculation campaign

Taiwan to obtain variant-busting Novavax shots through COVAX global sharing scheme in bid to boost lagging inoculation campaign
Taiwan has chosen to receive Novavax’s much-touted Covid-19 shots through the COVAX vaccine sharing initiative, with the island in severe need of speeding up its inoculation campaign to prevent further outbreaks.

In an emailed statement on Friday, US biotech firm Novavax said Taiwan would become a recipient of its Covid-19 vaccine. "Taiwan has opted to receive doses of NVX-CoV2373 through COVAX," it said, referring to the vaccine's name, but did not elaborate.

In a memorandum of understanding signed in February, Novavax agreed to provide as many as 1.1 billion shots to the COVAX initiative, which seeks to supply much of the globe, including many of the world’s poorest countries, with Covid-19 vaccines. 

Also on rt.com Another batch of Moderna vaccines delivered to Taiwan as Covid-19 inoculation program lags

Speaking on Friday, Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters that the government was also in talks with Novavax to take vaccines directly from the company and not just through the COVAX scheme. He did not elaborate and did not say how many shots they were hoping to receive.

To date, Taiwan’s ailing inoculation program has only received 600,000 doses from the COVAX initiative despite ordering 4.76 million. The largest vaccine deliveries to date have both been donations. On June 4, Taiwan received 1.23 million AstraZeneca shots from Japan, with a further 2.5 million Moderna jabs delivered from the US on June 20.

On Wednesday, Taiwan received 410,000 shots directly from Moderna, in the third and largest shipment from the US firm to date.So far, only around 8% of the country’s 23.5 million people have received at least one shot of a potentially lifesaving vaccine. Taiwan has been battling local outbreaks in recent months, but infections fell in June. The island, claimed by China as an integral part of the country, has declined Chinese Covid-19 vaccines.

Also on rt.com Novavax Covid-19 vaccine ‘extremely effective,’ says CEO, 100mn doses per month to be produced by end of Q3 after successful trial

In mid-June Novavax built on a successful UK-based trial earlier in the year when it announced promising results from its phase-three US and Mexico trial. The two-dose vaccine proved to be 93% effective in preventing infection from the ‘variants of concern’ and ‘variants of interest’ in circulation. It was also found to be 91% effective in high-risk populations. The trial data showed it to be 100% effective in preventing severe and moderate cases of Covid-19.

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