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    After enjoying for more than a year of Covid-free normality, Taiwan was recently hit by a wave of coronavirus infections. Schools have been closed and restaruants offer only takeouts. There are long lines around the block at testing sites. During the past week, the government has ordered people to stay home whenever possible and to wear masks if they really need to go out. The latest numbers, around 200 and 350 new infections a day, has jolted a population that had recorded only 1290 Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths during the entire pandemic.



    “This day was bound to come sooner or later,” said Daniel Fu-chang Tsai, a professor at the National Taiwan University College of Medicine. The slow pace of immunizations together with more transmissible variants create a perfect “window” for Taiwan to experience a flare-up, said Dr. Tsai. More and more people become negligent of putting their masks on and keeping social distancing when they are in a crowd.



    Taiwan’s battle against the virus has been complicated by a lack of vaccines, with only about 700,000 arriving to date, inlcuding 410,000 AstraZeneca shots, which have gradually immunizing health workers and other priority groups. Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said he had spoken with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on a video conference call about medical cooperation with the U.S. He brought up that Taiwan has an urgent need for vaccines and hoped that the United Staed could support Taiwan to obtain enough vaccines. Also, Taiwanese authorities worked with several domestic vaccine producers to expedite the development of Covid-19 vaccines. “They have reported good results in stage 2 clinical trials, and it looks like they also respond well to different variants in a laboratory setting,” said Chen Hsiu-hsi, the epidemiologist.

    台灣對抗病毒之戰因疫苗短缺而更加複雜,目前僅收到七十萬劑疫苗,其中四十萬劑AstraZeneca疫苗針對醫護人員及特定優先族群施打。衛福部長陳時中在與美國衛生部長Xavier Becerra視訊會議時,提及希望美方支持台灣取得足夠疫苗。台灣當局也與國內幾家疫苗廠商合作,希望能加速疫苗完成速度。台大公衛系教授陳秀熙表示,「國產疫苗在二期臨床試驗階段已傳出不錯的結果,也在對付變異病毒上看到不錯的保護效果。」


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