- • Foxconn and TSMC agree on the purchase of 10 million vaccines amid vaccine shortage in Taiwan.
- • Taiwan’s Cabinet announced that the vaccinations will be given to the government for free.
- • The first BioNTech vaccines would not arrive until late September.
Solving Vaccine Shortage in Taiwan
Foxconn and TSMC have agreed to purchase 10 million doses of Germany’s BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total cost of the highly politicized transaction to about $350 million. Taiwan’s government has been striving to purchase the vaccine directly from BioNTech for months, blaming China, which claims the island as its own territory, for canceling an agreement the two sides were set to sign earlier this year. China rejects the charges. Faced with public outrage over the sluggish pace of Taiwan’s immunization program, the government decided last month to let Foxconn founder Terry Gou and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) negotiate for vaccinations on its behalf.
Gou said on Facebook that he was “gratified” that the transaction, in which Foxconn and TSMC will each acquire 5 million doses to be donated to the government for distribution, had been finalized.
“But we can’t relax, because we will continue to work hard to push for the delivery time and quantity,” he said. “However, this batch of vaccines delivered directly from the German factory I believe will help Taiwanese society to increase confidence and offer respite in the face of the epidemic.”
Taiwan’s Cabinet announced that the vaccinations will be given to the government for free. Lo Ping-cheng, a spokesperson for the Cabinet, told reporters that the government was also planning to purchase 15 million “next-generation” Moderna Inc injections for next year and the year after.
The BioNTech vaccination saga has captured Taiwan’s attention and dominated the news. While a relatively modest domestic coronavirus epidemic has been substantially contained, only roughly a tenth of the country’s 23.5 million individuals have gotten at least one of a two-shot regimen.
TSMC and Foxconn, two key Apple Inc suppliers, said in a press release that the first BioNTech vaccines would not arrive until late September at the earliest, sent straight from Germany, but did not specify how many would be available at first. The German company has yet to respond. Fosun removed an earlier post from its WeChat account in which BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin stated that the firm was “very grateful” to be able to deliver the vaccine to Taiwan. Fosun did not reply right away to a request for comment on why the comments were deleted. Taiwan has millions of vaccines on order, primarily from AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna, while the US and Japan have given about five million doses to the island to assist speed up immunizations. According to a person familiar with the discussions, the involvement of TSMC, as well as the unconditional US and Japanese vaccine contributions, established a worldwide climate favorable to Taiwan, making it difficult for China to oppose the agreement.
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