Taiwan on Wednesday announced that it is working to procure up to 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Based on the continuing severity of COVID-19, and a trend of resurgence, vaccination is the most urgent and necessary strategy for the future prevention and control of the pandemic,” the Central Epidemic Command Center said in a statement.

It said that besides signing up with COVAX, an international initiative for equitable access to vaccines around the world, the government is purchasing shots from international manufacturers as well as undertaking trials for domestic production.

The press release added that 4.76 million doses through COVAX, and 10 million doses of vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca are expected to arrive in Taiwan by March 2021.

“We are in negotiations with several vaccine manufacturers that have already conducted Phase III clinical trials,” it said.

Meanwhile, the nation of 24 million people recorded its first case of a new variant of coronavirus said to be more contagious.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said a teenager who arrived from London on Sunday has tested positive for the new strain.

Taiwan has reported 797 infections, and seven deaths since the outbreak.

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