Sun, 13 Jun 2021

Taiwan wants to manufacture Covid vaccines for U.S. firms

Robert Besser
08 Jun 2021, 14:54 GMT+10

TAIPEI, Taiwan: Taiwan is meeting with U.S. companies to explore whether it might manufacture Covid vaccines for U.S. firms.

This follows similar talks with European countries, according to Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.

Taiwan has suffered from new outbreaks of Covid, and has been delayed in vaccinating its public due to global supply shortages.

"Only recently have we started to have talks with U.S. companies, to see if it's possible or not to carry out relevant subcontracting work," Chen added, without providing details.

While Taiwan ordered some five million shots from the U.S. firm Moderna, only 150,000 have been delivered. It also ordered 10 million shots from British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

Just 3 percent of Taiwan's 23.5 million people have received at least one shot of a Covid vaccine.

Japan recently donated 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.

While Taiwan's Covid infection rate has not surged, it also has not fallen. Chen announced 511 new domestic infections on Saturday.

Covid cases in Taiwan have largely been reported in the Taipei area. However, authorities are now working to stop an outbreak at two chip packagers in Miaoli, in the north of the island.

In areas where outbreaks have occurred, the government, working with the military, has erected testing sites to identify any rapid increase.

In a broadcast from her office on Saturday, President Tsai Ing-wen announced that she asked the Hsinchu and Miaoli governments to set up an "anti-epidemic combat alliance" to protect production.

"Every second counts, and we must guard the line of defence against the epidemic," she said.

Taiwan has seen 10,956 cases of Covid, reporting 225 deaths.

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