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[Level 3 COVID Alert] Mayor: Citizens Eligible for Free COVID Vaccination

Pic: A public market in Taipei City Pic: Chart on Taipei's vaccination progressDuring the pandemic update press conference on June 5, Mayor Ko Wen-je called upon citizens to retain their cool, especially when statistics indicate that the spread of COVID in Taipei City is under control. He believes that the best strategy for the next 2 months is to continue the Level 3 alert to allow economic activities and hold out until vaccines become more widely available. The city government also plan to offer free vaccination for individuals with residency established in Taipei City.
 
Going into details on the strategy, the mayor emphasized 2 approaches: first, for hot zones like Wanhua District, rapid testing is needed. However, recent experience show that it is not as simple as dispatching rapid test vehicles to the site and people will show up for tests. What the staff noticed is those who do not need to be tested turn out in great numbers, while those that require testing fail to show up. He believes that further measures will require the mobilization of social welfare and civil affairs agencies to come up with lists so those that need rapid tests will get tested. Next, for other non-hot zones, the city government will need to come up with plans to stop the spread by focusing on confirmed cases.
 
Regarding recent cases of outbreaks inside long-term care institutions, to protect the health of workers and residents, the city government has come up with a list comprising of 1,400 workers who work and reside at long-term care agencies; 2,050 community at-home caregivers; 45 meal delivery personnel; 20 staff members at support centers for the disabled, and 280 people at temporary shelters for children and women. Vaccinations for those on the list are expected to be completed tomorrow.
 
The mayor touted Taipei City’s comprehensive vaccination plan. The operation will be divided into 3 levels, with different venues (local hospital and clinics, district health centers, and large-scale venues) to match the size of target groups. As soon as the central government provide information on the expected date and quantity of vaccines, the city will carry out vaccination in the shortest amount of time under an effective cost-performance structure. If the city government receives an overwhelming number of vaccines, it will designate large-scale venues such as Taipei Arena and the Expo Dome when considering the ease of access for the public.
 
Citing over 300 million doses being administered in the US, Ko expects the US government to complete vaccination in two months after factoring in the monthly vaccine rollout of 70,000 doses; the excess volumes most likely will go to other countries. Even in the worst-case scenario, he believes that vaccines will be available in another 2 months. Therefore, the immediate task would be to sustain Level 3 Alert for 2 more months while devising strategies to either reduce or root out existing COVID-19 clusters.