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Migrant workers in Taiwan to receive same COVID-19 vaccine treatment: MOFA

Migrant workers in Taiwan receive same treatment with Taiwanese nationals in the government's COVID-19 vaccination program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesperson Joanne Ou told CNA on Friday.

Ou's statement came after the representative offices of Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in Taiwan issued a joint appeal in late June for migrant workers to be added to the priority list of persons to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

MOFA immediately discussed the situation with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), which oversees Taiwan's COVID-19 response, after receiving the joint statement on July 2, according to Ou.

"We were told that migrant workers are not treated differently than Taiwanese nationals in principle," she said, though MOFA will set up a dialogue between the representatives of the four countries and Taiwan's health officials at an appropriate time to discuss the issue.

According to the joint statement, dated June 29, the offices urged Taiwan to consider prioritizing migrant workers in the government's vaccination program, while also recognizing that vaccines given must meet international standards and be administered on a voluntary basis.

They believed that migrant workers were a high-risk group, as seen when several hundred came down with COVID-19 at three electronics manufacturers in Miaoli County in June.

These overseas workers often live in cramped quarters with shared bathrooms, which makes it easier for the disease to be spread from one person to another.

The offices also hoped that Taiwan's government would give priority to improving the living conditions of migrant workers, and that meaningful discussions could be held among all parties to counter the impact of COVID-19.

Taiwan's government has administered COVID-19 vaccines based on a 10-category priority list that gives precedence to the elderly, frontline healthcare workers, and people in other high-risk jobs.

In a recent mass inoculation of more than 2,000 vendors and workers in high-risk traditional markets in Taipei earlier this week, migrant workers were given vaccine shots as long as they could present their National Health Insurance cards. -Central News Agency



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