German company BioNTech said on Thursday it still intends to deliver vaccine doses to Taiwan, the day after a statement from the island’s health minister citing “political pressure” that thwarted the deal.
• Read also: Taiwan Says Failed To Obtain Pfizer / BioNTech Vaccine Due To “Political Pressure”
In a statement, BioNTech said it was still in negotiations with Taiwan to provide it with doses.
“BioNTech is committed to helping end the pandemic for people around the world and we intend to deliver our vaccine to Taiwan as part of this global commitment,” the lab said.
This brief statement makes no mention of the statements of the Minister of Health and does not specify the reasons for the collapse of the agreement in December.
“I was worried about interference from outside forces throughout the process. We think there has been political pressure, ”Chen Shih-chung told radio on Wednesday, raising fears that Beijing would obstruct its vaccination efforts.
“The agreement failed (…) because someone refuses that Taiwan is too happy”, he added.
Asked if Beijing might have blocked the deal, Chen replied, “It could be a possibility but we cannot confirm it. We continue to communicate with »the company.
BioNTech has reached an agreement with the Shanghai-based group Fosun Pharmaceutical to deliver at least 100 million doses of vaccine to China, this agreement also including Taiwan.
The island is one of the territories that has fought the most effectively against the pandemic, totaling less than 940 cases of coronavirus in one year. Only nine deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 on the island.
Taipei had quickly closed its borders, implemented very strict quarantine measures and carried out a very effective tracing policy.
Taiwan has struggled to get a vaccine, however. It was only recently that the island announced an agreement for five million doses with Moderna and another for 200,000 doses with Oxford-AstraZeneca.
The Chinese regime still sees the island as a rebel province called upon to return to the national fold, if necessary by force.
The communist power has stepped up efforts to try to further isolate the island, economically and diplomatically, since the arrival to its presidency in 2016 of Tsai Ing-wen, from a party traditionally hostile to China.