Taiwanese health authorities on Wednesday turned down an apparent offer by China to sell BioNTech vaccines to city and county governments.
Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Chief Chen Shih-chung said that any vaccines had to be imported through certified agents, vetted for efficacy, quality and safety, and distributed by Taiwan’s central government.
Chen, who is also minister of health and welfare, did not categorically reject the possibility, but made it clear that Taiwan was not interested in vaccines from China.
Chen has been asked repeatedly about the possibility of importing vaccines from China since Nantou County Mayor Lin Ming-chen asked for authorisation this week to procure BNT vaccines from Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, the East Asia sales agent for BioNtech.
Lin claims Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office agreed to the sale of 300,000 doses for about 897,000 dollars.
The CECC chief observed that Beijing has not permitted the BNT vaccine to be sold or used within the People’s Republic of China.
Chen confirmed that Taiwan, which recorded a total of 6,091 confirmed cases with 46 fatalities on Wednesday, will receive 2 million doses of vaccine in June and another 10 million by the end of August.
Democratic Progressive Party legislator Lo Chih-cheng told dpa that “the involvement of the official Taiwan Affairs Office shows that Beijing is politicising the supply of vaccines.’’(dpa/NAN)