As the epidemic is staging a comeback, a meeting of experts is scheduled for April 20 to discuss whether to allow the vaccination of children. Meanwhile, medical personnel of a Taipei hospital tested positive, leading to the closure of its operating rooms.
A nurse anesthetist at Taipei Medical University Hospital recently tested positive. Contacts were traced, and four more personnel in the anesthesiology department and working in operating rooms tested positive. The hospital disinfected its ORs and suspended procedures. The number of local COVID-19 cases is surging, and there are doctors who say the future epidemic situation will be somewhere between those of South Korea and Singapore. It will take at least three more months before coexistence with the virus will be possible.
Chiang Kuan-yu, General Physician, Taipei City Hospital Zhongxing Branch: “The epidemic situation may not develop so intensely, but it may persist for a long time. We might have hills rather than peaks. If that's the case, then it may take longer than 120 days and it may drag on for a very, very long time.”
The Food and Drug Administration recently granted emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine on children aged six to 11. A meeting of experts is scheduled for April 20, and they will decide whether to allow the vaccination of children. Parents are asking why the government is not using Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines for children. Some experts cited American clinical studies in responding.
He Mei-hsiang, Researcher, Academia Sinica: “Pfizer's is only 10 mg (one-third of the adult dosage), so the apparent effect is that the protective effect declines quickly. Of course, it's primarily because this vaccine is based on the original strain and when used against Omicron, of course, there is a huge difference in its antigenicity.”
Huang Li-min, Honorary Chair, Infectious Diseases Society of Taiwan: “These two vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) can both be used. You should use whatever vaccines you have available because the epidemic situation continues and you don't know how long you have to wait for the BNT vaccine.”
Experts say the priority should be raising the vaccination coverage, especially boosting it to at least 90 percent among the elderly to reduce the risk of severe cases and death. The government should also stock up on a sufficient number of oral antivirals and free up medical resources to treat severe cases.