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Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung and the island’s top American diplomat, Brent Christensen, in front of an aeroplane carrying Moderna vaccines shipped from the US earlier this month. Photo: Reuters

Vaccine boost for Taiwan with 410,000 more Moderna shots on the way

  • Taipei not ruling out making vaccines for international firms
  • Only 8 per cent of population has had at least one vaccination
Another 410,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine are due to arrive in Taiwan, further boosting the island’s efforts to fight a cluster of local infections.
Deputy interior minister Chen Tsung-yen said on Tuesday that a flight carrying the latest batch of Moderna shots was expected on Wednesday.
Only around 8 per cent of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have had at least one vaccine jab and the government has been under pressure to speed up deliveries of the millions of doses it has on order.

“The flight with the 410,000 doses should arrive tomorrow afternoon or early evening if everything is as normal,” Chen said. The government had previously confirmed it would receive part of its direct order for 5.05 million Moderna doses on Wednesday, but had not directly said how many would be coming.

Joe Biden urges G7 world leaders to join US in sharing coronavirus vaccinations

When asked if a government-run research centre was in talks with Moderna to make Covid-19 vaccines, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the government “will not give up any opportunity” and was reviewing its vaccine manufacturing capacity for international companies.

“We are reviewing related capacity, willingness and division of labour domestically. That will smooth things out in a negotiation,” Chen said.

Taiwan has received 4.85 million vaccine doses so far, including 1.24 million donated by Japan and 2.5 million donated by the United States. Japan has pledged another 1 million, while Lithuania is giving the island 20,000.

Taiwan’s own direct vaccine orders include 10 million doses from AstraZeneca and 4.76 million from the UN-backed Covax global sharing scheme.


US sends 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan

US sends 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan

Another 10 million doses are on order from two Taiwanese companies which are developing domestic vaccines, but it is unclear when they might start to be administered as they have not yet been approved by the government.

Taiwan’s own domestic outbreak of the virus is being brought under control, but authorities are wary about a handful of cases of the highly contagious Delta variant in southern Taiwan.

The island reported 54 new domestic infections on Tuesday, down from 60 a day earlier, marking the smallest daily rise since May 15 when the government raised the alert level for Taipei and its neighbouring New Taipei City in the wake of a sudden spike of domestic cases.