BioNTech says it's 'committed' to supplying Taiwan with COVID-19 vaccine

18 February, 2021
Germany's BioNTech said Thursday (Feb 18) it still intends to supply Taiwan with coronavirus vaccine doses after the island's wellbeing chief warned "political pressure" had scuppered a deal with the company.

Taiwanese health minister Chen Shih-chung said Wednesday that negotiations with the German firm to obtain five million Pfizer-BioNTech shots fell through on December "because someone doesn't want Taiwan to be too happy".

His comments raised considerations China might be hoping to hinder Taiwan's inoculation drive.

Authoritarian Beijing regards democratic and self-ruled Taiwan seeing as its territory and tries to keep the island diplomatically isolated - including keeping it locked out of your World Health Organization.

In a statement on Thursday, BioNTech stated discussions to provide Taiwan with doses were nonetheless ongoing.

"BioNTech is committed to help bringing a finish to the pandemic for folks around the world and we intend to supply Taiwan with this vaccine within this global determination," it said.

The brief statement did not address Chen's comments or describe why the December package did not materialise.

BioNTech has struck a good manage the Shanghai-based Fosun Pharmaceutical Group to bring the vaccine to China, including Taiwan.

Beijing has a long record of pressuring both Chinese and international corporations when it really wants to punish Taiwan.

There's been no touch upon Chen's remarks in China during the total annual Chinese New Year break. Foson in addition has not responded to requests for comment.

Taiwan has survived the pandemic largely unscathed - with fewer than 940 confirmed circumstances and nine deaths so far - by closing its borders early on, imposing strict quarantine methods and rolling out effective tracing.

Nonetheless it has struggled to find adequate vaccine supplies and only recently announced a way to obtain five million dosages by American pharmaceutical giant Moderna and 200,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine via COVAX.