FILE PHOTO: Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are pictured in a vaccination centre in Geneva, Switzerland, February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
September 2, 2021
By Ann Wang
TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Reuters) – The primary batch of BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Taiwan on Thursday, after months of heated political and diplomatic wrangling and helped by the involvement of two of the world’s most necessary tech companies. Taiwan has blamed China, which claims the island as its personal territory, for nixing an unique order from the German agency earlier this 12 months – costs Beijing has angrily denied. Taiwan’s authorities subsequently allowed main Apple Inc provider Foxconn – formally Hon Hai Precision Business Co Ltd – in addition to its high-profile billionaire founder Terry Gou, together with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, to barter on its behalf for the shot. A $350 million deal for 10 million photographs was inked in July, which will probably be donated to the federal government for distribution.
A cargo flight from Luxembourg carrying the made-in-Germany vaccines landed at Taiwan’s principal worldwide airport at Taoyuan, exterior of Taipei, at 7 a.m. (2300 GMT), met on the tarmac by Well being Minister Chen Shih-chung and Sophie Chang, the TSMC Charity Basis’s chairwoman and Gou’s cousin.
In a single additional flourish of drama, China introduced the precise arrival date of the vaccines on Wednesday, shortly earlier than Chen started his each day information briefing.
The roughly 900,000 doses of the vaccine, collectively developed with Pfizer Inc, are anticipated to start out being administered later this month.
Taiwan is getting the photographs 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 accredited to be used in Chinese language-run Hong Kong and Macau. Whereas a comparatively small home coronavirus outbreak is nicely underneath management in Taiwan, solely round 5% of its 23.5 million individuals are totally vaccinated, although the federal government has thousands and thousands of vaccines on order. Greater than 10 million vaccine doses have arrived in Taiwan so far, cut up between Moderna Inc and AstraZeneca Plc, whereas native developer Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s photographs have additionally began to be administered. A Taiwanese Buddhist group has additionally ordered 5 million doses from BioNTech.
(Reporting by Ann Wang; Writing by Ben Blanchard and Stephen Coates)