TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A clinic in Taipei is to receive the maximum fine for giving COVID-19 vaccines to persons who are not from groups eligible to receive the jabs.
During a press conference on Wednesday (June 9), Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said that the Good Liver Service Center in the city's Zhongshan District has been found to have administered COVID-19 vaccines to recipients who were not among the top three priority groups. Huang said that for violating the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), the clinic will be handed the maximum fine of NT$2 million (US$72,187) and will be removed from the city's list of vaccination centers.
Huang said that the clinic claimed that it had 101 medical staff members, and on Monday (June 7), it requested 15 vials of vaccine. The next day, it requested 100 additional vials, and the health department provided it with 115.
According to Huang, when it received its first batch of vaccines, it listed 77 persons as recipients. However, because most of them had actually already received vaccine doses, the 15 vials were given to a total of 172 members of its foundation and clinic volunteers.
The second batch of 100 vials was administered to volunteers from the clinic and its foundation. A total of 1,113 individuals received the vaccine.
Huang said that it was clear that the clinic provided vaccine doses to persons who were not among the top three priority groups that are currently allowed to receive the shots. She said that although the penalty for such a breach of the Communicable Disease Control Act ranges between NT$300,000 and NT$2 million, officials opted for the maximum penalty because of the blatant violation, adding that no more vaccines will be distributed to the clinic.
After an initial internal review, Huang said that health department staff had allocated the vaccine to the clinic without properly confirming the eligibility of the recipients. Huang said that this was illegal and the incident will be investigated by the Taipei City Department of Government Ethics.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) acknowledged that there had been omissions in adherence to internal regulations. Huang said that in the future, the distribution of vaccines to clinics will be more rigorously regulated and allocation authority will be raised to the level of deputy director.
Huang pledged a more "open and transparent" process to enable the public to be fully aware of the vaccine distribution priorities.
JUSTCLICK & CONNECT