Taiwan, the U.S., Japan, the UK and Australia co-organized the virtual Global Cooperation and Training Framework (vGCTF) workshop entitled "COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout: Experiences and Challenges" on May 18. The Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元), the Director-General of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) William Brent Christensen (酈英傑), the Chief Representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office Hiroyasu Izumi (泉裕泰), the Representative of the British Office in Taiwan John Dennis (鄧元翰), and the Representative of Australian Office Taipei Jenny Bloomfield (露珍怡) joined the opening remarks session.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China in late 2019, more than 162 million cases have been confirmed with 3.37 million deaths reported worldwide. Deputy Minister Hsueh and Director-General Chou mentioned in their remarks that vaccination is the most effective intervention for controlling infectious diseases, and thanks to the relentless and joint efforts from all scientists around the world, the AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been developed for use on human beings. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on all countries which are also faced with the challenges brought about by new variants of the virus. All countries will not be spared the threats posed by the pandemic unless each country can bring the spread of COVID-19 under control. Furthermore, as equitable access to effective vaccines is deemed the ultimate strategy to end the pandemic, it is expected that more effective vaccines can be developed and rolled out with ample supplies. In their remarks, Deputy Minister Shieh and Director-General Chou called on all countries to work together to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public health personnel from Taiwan, the U.S., Canada, the EU, Israel, Australia and Japan were invited to attend the virtual workshop as speakers or participants to discuss topics related to COVID-19 vaccines, ranging from vaccine introductions and safety to vaccine distribution, logistics, cold chain management, priority lists, adverse reactions and vaccine hesitancy in the respective country. All participants shared their experiences in addressing these issues at the workshop. About 135 experts from 36 countries across the globe tuned in to join the virtual workshop and jointly helped to improve regional COVID-19 prevention capacity and prevent threats posed by infectious diseases through the platform.
This workshop is the eighth public health training held under the US-Taiwan GCTF established on June 1, 2015. A total of over 350 public health officials or experts from 47 countries across the globe have attended the GCTF workshops to share their experiences and made these workshops successful and fruitful.