Taiwan says ‘China’s intervention’ blocked vaccine deal with BioNTech

Only one per cent of the Taiwanese have been vaccinated

Taiwan has directly accused China for the first time of blocking a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccines, in an escalating war of words after Beijing offered the German-made mRNA shots to the island via a Chinese company.

Taiwan has millions of vaccine doses on order from AstraZeneca and Moderna, but has received only slightly more than 700,000 to date, and has only been able to vaccinate about 1 per cent of its population as coronavirus cases surge.

There were 633 new domestic COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday, including 331 cases added to the totals for previous days as Taiwan continues to readjust its infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests.

While Taiwan has previously said it had been unable to sign a final contract with Pfizer-BioNTech, it had only implied that Chinese pressure was to blame.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and tries to curtail its international relations.

In comments at a meeting of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, President Tsai Ing-wen said they had “smoothly” booked orders for the AstraZeneca and Moderna shots.

“As for Germany’s BioNTech, we were close to completing the contract with the original German plant, but because of China’s intervention, up to now there’s been no way to complete it,” she said.

In comments sent to Reuters shortly before Tsai’s remarks were released, BioNTech said it could not comment on potential or ongoing discussions on providing vaccines.

Taiwan says ‘China’s intervention’ blocked vaccine deal with BioNTech – The Sydney Morning Herald

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