Taiwan On Alert for Omicron Variant 耶誕.跨年節慶多 Omicron可能台灣現蹤

The latest review results regarding vaccination injury compensation have been announced. The two cases have been confirmed to be related to the AZ vaccines. Meanwhile, the CECC Commander Chen Shih-chung said they would do their best to detect and contain Omicron cases. 

Individuals who experience severe adverse effects after having received COVID-19 vaccination can now apply for vaccine injury compensation from the government. Family members of individuals who tragically lost their lives from vaccination can also apply. The Ministry of Health and Welfare's vaccine injury compensation case review on Nov. 18 revealed 38 recent cases of severe adverse effects. Two are confirmed to be AZ-related.

Chen Shih-chung, CECC Commander: “We reviewed about 38 cases on the 18th. Two cases are determined to be AZ-related, and one is uncertain. We've decided to hand out NT$65,000 in compensation for these three cases, and NT$1.5 million in funeral service support for other cases.”

The heavily mutated new coronavirus variant Omicron poses a very high global risk of infection surges, the World Health Organization said on Nov. 29. A growing number of countries have reported Omicron cases. Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has added four more countries to the list of high travel risks for COVID-19. 

With Christmas, year-end, and Lunar New Year celebration events coming up, would Taiwan be at risk for Omicron in Dec.? CECC Commander Chen Shih-chung said it may be possible.

Chen Shih-chung, CECC Commander: “I don't rule out the possibility of receiving import Omicron cases in Taiwan, but we would do our best to detect and contain them at the border. Taiwan has received about 190 people coming from South Africa and more than 200 people from the 6 high COVID-19 risk countries during the last month. It is still under our capacity for quarantine and pandemic control. I believe we'll receive fewer visitors and people returning from South Africa this month, mainly because the Amsterdam airport is closed and not so much because of Omicron.”

Inoculations of the third dose for adults can begin after Jan. 1 of 2022, CECC said. Medical experts suggest that people should all be vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine for their third shot. Chen said there needs to be more review and analysis of global health reports on the results of mixing vaccines since people are bound to experience more adverse effects from mix-and-match.

Chen Shih-chung, CECC Commander: “All foreign and domestic researches so far show that vaccine recipients experienced more adverse effects from mixing vaccines. Although not severe, most adverse effect cases reported in Taiwan had mixed vaccine types. If further data support that mix-and-match produces stronger immunity, then we will support mixing vaccines, but we will not make it mandatory. ”

Lin Shi-bi, Former Infectious Diseases Physician: “What kind of COVID-19 vaccine should people receive as booster shots? I think it's obvious that it should be mRNA vaccines. Most people received AZ in Britain and their health authorities also recommend BNT or half a dosage of Moderna as third shots.”

CECC recommends that all people above the age of 18 who have been fully vaccinated should receive a third shot when the service becomes available in 2022. Chen continues to encourage all who haven't received a second shot, or any shot at all to get vaccinated.