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Taiwan Began Using Domestically Produced Vaccine

Taiwan has begun administering its own vaccine against Covid-19, amid criticism that approval of the vaccine is premature.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Amid criticism that the vaccine’s approval is premature, Taiwan has begun administering its vaccine against Covid-19.

On Aug. 23, the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, was the first for Medigen vaccination.

The MVC Covid-19 vaccine, designated MVC-COV1901 and known as the Medigen Covid-19 vaccine, is a protein subunit Covid-19 vaccine developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation in Taiwan, American company Dynavax Technologies, and the U.S. National Institute of Health.

On July 19, 2021, the MVC Covid-19 vaccine obtained Emergency Use Authorization approval from the Taiwanese government after fulfilling the requirements of the Taiwanese authority. However, the Emergency Use Authorization was controversial due to the lack of efficacy data and Phase 3 Clinical Trial.

“Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (MVC) obtains Emergency Use Authorization of Taiwan’s approval due to MVC’s Covid-19 vaccine has fulfilled following Emergency Use Authorization standards set by Taiwan’s regulatory agencies,” said Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp in a statement.

At the time of approval, the vaccine— produced by Medigen Corporation— had yet to complete a third trial phase but was given urgent consent by medical regulators.

The company said there were no major safety concerns. Studies had shown that the antibodies produced by the Taiwanese vaccine “were no worse” than those produced by the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Two versions of the vaccine — produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India — have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. When the vaccine underwent SAGE consideration, it had reviewed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).” said the World Health Organization.

The European Medicines Agency has thoroughly assessed the data on the vaccine’s quality, safety, and efficacy. It has recommended granting conditional marketing authorization for people aged 18 and above.

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, a group of experts that provides an independent and authoritative guide to the World Health Organization on safe vaccine use, receives and assesses reports of suspected safety events of potentially global impact.

Medigen is a subtype of the protein vaccine, similar to that developed by Novavax.

The Novavax vaccine uses a more traditional method of creating a ‘protein spike’ virus to stimulate the immune system.

More than 700,000 people have already signed up to receive the Medigen vaccine, given in two doses 28 days apart.

Taiwan currently reports a dozen infected people a day. News agencies said that less than five percent of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people had been fully vaccinated. About 40 percent have received only one dose.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra