TAIPEI (Reuters) – Around 900,000 doses of BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine are anticipated to arrive in Taiwan quickly, the well being minister mentioned on Tuesday, the primary supply of a extremely politicised, much-anticipated order whose tortured progress has transfixed the island.
Taiwan has blamed China, which claims the island as its personal territory, for nixing an order from the German agency earlier this 12 months – expenses Beijing has angrily denied.
Taiwan’s authorities subsequently allowed main Apple Inc provider Foxconn – formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd – in addition to its excessive profile billionaire founder Terry Gou, together with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, to negotiate on its behalf for the shot.
A $350 million deal for 10 million pictures was inked final month, which will likely be donated to the federal government for distribution.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, requested whether or not the primary of BioNTech SE’s vaccines would arrive on Wednesday, instructed reporters he was not ready to give a precise timetable, “however the time talked about may be very shut”.
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“The quantity is round 900,000 doses,” he added.
BioNTech, which collectively developed the vaccine with Pfizer Inc, declined to remark.
Chen mentioned that the arrival of the vaccines had “nice that means” for Taiwan, and he would undoubtedly go to the airport to obtain them.
“I’ll solely go when the plane arrives,” he mentioned.
Taiwan is getting the pictures sooner than anticipated as a delay in regulatory approval of the shot to be used in mainland China made a surplus accessible for the island. The vaccine is accepted to be used in Chinese-run Hong Kong and Macau.
While a comparatively small home coronavirus outbreak is nicely below management in Taiwan, solely round 5% of its 23.5 million persons are totally vaccinated, although the federal government has thousands and thousands of vaccines on order.
More than 10 million vaccine doses have arrived in Taiwan to date, break up between Moderna Inc and AstraZeneca Plc, whereas native developer Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s pictures have additionally began to be administered.
A Taiwanese Buddhist group has additionally ordered 5 million doses from BioNTech.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
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