CORONAVIRUS/Government not considering new Pfizer-BNT vaccine purchase plan

07/14/2021 10:42 PM
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Photo from BioNTech
Photo from BioNTech's Twitter page

Taipei, July 14 (CNA) The government will approve no further plans to purchase additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccine on a case-by-case basis, given that Taiwan will likely take delivery of 15 million doses of the vaccine in the near future, enough to inoculate Taiwanese until late this year or early next year, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said Wednesday.

Lo made the remarks after the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) announced earlier in the day that it is working with four counties governed by the party to purchase 5 million doses of the Pfizer-BNT vaccine.

Noting that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) have each purchased 5 million doses of the Pfizer-BNT vaccine, Lo said that if Tzu Chi Foundation's plan to buy up to 5 million doses of the vaccine also goes smoothly, Taiwan will have 15 million doses.

The number of Pfizer-BNT vaccine shots will be enough for the use of Taiwan's population until late this year or next year, according to Lo.

Tzu Chi Foundation said on July 10 it has signed an agreement with the government to represent Taiwan in negotiations to purchase up to 5 million doses of the Pfizer-BNT vaccine.

In addition to the donations from those organizations, the government has also signed contracts to purchase 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and is seeking to buy an additional number of Moderna vaccine doses later this year. It also plans to buy 15 million doses of next generation Moderna vaccine in 2022 and 2023, according to Lo.

Meanwhile, the KMT on Wednesday called on the government to extend eligibility for the Pfizer-BNT vaccine to include junior and senior high school students.

The United States and the European Union have made young people aged 12-18 eligible to receive the Pfizer-BNT vaccine, the KMT Communications Committee chairwoman Wang Yu-min (王育敏) said at a news conference but noted that Taiwan's government has not reserved COVID-19 vaccines for young people in that age bracket.

Therefore, the party urged the government to approve the use of the Pfizer-BNT vaccine for high school students, Wang added.

Meanwhile, Wang said that the government should study the feasibility of providing living allowances or support to employees forced to take unpaid family care leave during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The party also called on the government to draft disease prevention measures for the college entrance exam scheduled for July 28-30.

(By Lai Yu-cheng, Liu Kuan-ting and Evelyn Kao)

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