Taiwan is expected to roll out locally developed Covid-19 vaccines by the end of July, an announcement made as the island grapples with an outbreak of cases. President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters on Thursday night that phase 2 clinical trials of the vaccine candidates had nearly been completed, as she called for calm over community transmission. “The first wave of locally developed vaccines is expected to be ready for supply at the end of July,” she said, without giving details on how many vaccines would be available or which ones. Two experimental vaccines developed by Taiwanese companies – Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation and United Biomedical – are in phase 2 trials, both involving more than 4,000 volunteers. Both companies are expected to apply for “emergency use authorisation” in June, according to local media reports. A Medigen Vaccine Biologics spokesman said last month that antibody tests had indicated their candidate appeared to be effective in protecting against the UK variant while it was slightly less effective against the South African variant, according to a Taiwan News report. Meanwhile, Hwang Kao-pin of the China Medical University Hospital in Taipei, who heads the United Biomedical vaccine project, said their experimental shot had also delivered satisfactory results against both the UK and South African variants, according to the report. Taiwan to boost spending by US$7.5 billion as Covid-19 cases rise Taiwan has secured about 20 million doses of vaccines from Britain and the United States, as well as through the Covax Facility backed by the World Health Organization that aims to ensure fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines . Tsai said shipments of vaccines from overseas were expected to arrive next month. “Relevant authorities should get ready for the arrival of these vaccines and prepare to administer them,” she said. Taiwan received 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in March. The island’s success at keeping the pandemic at bay meant the roll-out was initially slow, with many people reluctant to get the jab, but after an outbreak of locally transmitted cases last month more Taiwanese have been willing to get vaccinated. More than 120,000 people had been inoculated as of Thursday – a big jump from the 70,000 who had received the jab a week ago, according to the Central Epidemic Command Centre. The centre reported 13 new locally transmitted cases on Thursday, taking the number of local infections in the outbreak to 71 – after recording no such cases over the past few months. Taiwan has reported a total of 1,256 infections and 12 deaths during the pandemic.