Taiwan presents homemade vaccine, President gets jabbed

15:27, 23 August 2021
Taiwan presents homemade vaccine, President gets jabbed Photo: U.S. Secretary of Defense/

The announcement comes amid growing criticism.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has received the first shot of a new vaccine conceived and developed on the island. It has been called Medigen and was approved in an emergency by the national Health Ministry last month.

Millions of the Taiwanese will be able to profit from the homegrown invention made by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp.

The vaccine has drawn considerable criticism from the country’s med community as its three clinical trials have not been completed yet. Specialists doubt that the vaccine is sure to be effective against COVID.

Their indignation was supported by that of the main opposition party, the Kuomintang, whose members claim that the vaccine is rushed and unsafe. They are currently considering filing a lawsuit, highlighting that the Taiwanese should not be “rats in a laboratory”.

The manufacturer has assured that there are no safety doubts, adding that relevant studies showed that antibodies created were "no worse” than those developed, for instance, by AstraZeneca, and their quantity is sufficient to protect from the virus.

"We have done so many experiments, everyone has seen how safe our vaccine is. There are few side effects, almost no fever, and others. So I think everyone can be assured," Medigen's Chief Executive Officer Charles Chen said in a statement

Medigen is supposed to pass its final clinical tests later this year.

Tsai received her first dose of the vaccine on Monday morning. More than 700,000 Taiwan residents have already signed up for the vaccine, which requires two doses 28 days apart.

Around 40% of the Taiwanese have received at least one shot of a vaccine. Still, only some 5% of the population has been fully vaccinated since the second dose is prioritized to vulnerable categories of citizens.