What you need to know
Taiwan has signed the first bilateral deal for a Covid-19 vaccine and is negotiating for three others. Native vaccine development is in progress.
Taiwan has secured around 15 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, announced the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) at the daily press briefing on the pandemic yesterday. More than half of the population can be vaccinated once the vaccine is proved safe and effective.
Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), Minister of Health and Welfare, said Taiwan has clinched a deal earlier this week with an undisclosed vaccine manufacturer and paid the deposit for 10 million doses.
This is the first bilateral deal that the government has signed for a Covid-19 vaccine. Negotiations for three other vaccines are underway, Chen said.
On Tuesday, Taiwan was ranked third in Bloomberg’s “,” following New Zealand and Japan. But the country scored zero in “Access to Covid vaccines,” based on the government’s failure to ink any vaccine deals.
“Many countries make public announcements after they sign contracts to procure vaccine doses,” Chen said in response to the result. “We have kept the progress confidential during the negotiation process, but the public misunderstood this as our failure to secure any doses.”
In addition to the 10 million doses, Taiwan also plans to obtain around 4.6 million doses from COVAX, a global initiative that ensures fair vaccine distribution among 171 member states, bringing the number of doses the country has secured to around 15 million.
Medical workers, quarantine inspectors, police officers and soldiers, caregivers, and social workers are the first in line to receive vaccination, Chuang on Monday. Next in line are the elderly aged 65 and above, high-risk patients aged 19 to 64, and those who suffer from rare disorders or critical illnesses.
For now, children are not included in the list, he added, because Covid-19 cases in kids are rare.
Chen that Taiwan will not purchase Covid-19 vaccine doses developed by Chinese companies, in adherence to a local law that prohibits imports of biomedical products made in China, though COVAX is likely to provide Chinese vaccine doses to its members.
TNL Editor: Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
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