HomeTravelTaiwan-Palau travel bubble resumes with COVID vaccination as new option for participants

Taiwan-Palau travel bubble resumes with COVID vaccination as new option for participants

The travel bubble that Taiwan and Palau had established was halted in May when Taiwan had a domestic outbreak of COVID. Now that the epidemic is put under control, the travel bubble has resumed with the first flight to Palau having left Taipei Saturday. This time Palau is offering a new option: COVID vaccines to those visiting under the program. But the Central Epidemic Command Center is reminding the public that getting a jab doesn”t guarantee immunity. Breakthrough infections are still possible, especially when COVID variants are at play.

Tourists filed into the Palau National Gymnasium one after another to get vaccinated.

The Palauan government even made some special arrangements: Taiwanese medical workers were on hand to help with translation and verifying passport information. Taiwan’s ambassador to Palau also showed up to help facilitate the process.

Wallace Chow
Ambassador to Palau
The most important thing is, if you have serious allergy that causes difficulty breathing, then you may have to go to a hospital right away where they’ll take care of you in the emergency room.

On this initial flight to Palau after the resumption of the travel bubble, 95% of the 146 passengers chose to get vaccinated while visiting Palau. However, the vaccine is no guarantee that one will be completely immune to COVID. The Central Epidemic Command Center said of the 145 imported cases of COVID arriving in Taiwan between July 2 and Aug. 14, 40 had had a vaccine dose with 12 of them having had two doses administered more than 14 days prior to arrival. Three of the cases were of the Delta variant. These are the kinds of breakthrough infections experts fear.

Chou Pai-chien
Taipei Medical University Hospital
If a variant of the virus escapes immune suppression or mutates too quickly, it may still infect you even after you have been vaccinated. In the future, COVID may be treated with oral antiviral medicine in addition to the current vaccines and certain comprehensive viral drugs. That may become a trend.

In addition to the variants, patients with weaker immunity or poor liver and kidney functions will be more likely to get a breakthrough infection. Given that there are currently seven COVID variants in Taiwan, experts are reminding the public that regardless of having received one or two doses of the vaccine, to reduce the risk of infection, people should observe good hygiene practices.


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