TAIPEI, May 30 (Reuters) - Taiwan's government has signed
deals with two local companies to provide up to 20 million doses
of their COVID-19 vaccines, the official Central News Agency
said on Sunday, in a boost to the island's pandemic fight.
The news comes days after the Chinese-claimed island blamed
Beijing week for blocking a deal earlier this year for BioNTech
SE vaccines, which China denies.
After recording just a handful of daily infections for
months, Taiwan is dealing with relatively large numbers of
community transmissions, though infection rates are starting to
It has only vaccinated around 1% of its more than 23 million
people but has almost 30 million shots on order, from
AstraZeneca Plc, Moderna Inc and two domestic
The Central News Agency said the government had on Friday
signed deals with Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp and
United Biomedical Inc for five million doses each, and had oral
agreements for another five million each, for a total of 20
Medigen confirmed the details in a statement to the stock
exchange while the government's central epidemic command centre
said it would issue a statement later. United Biomedical did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, neither shot has yet been formally approved for use
and both are still undergoing tests, which Taiwan's government
says are going well.
Earlier on Sunday, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said
Taiwan has not given up hope of eventually getting COVID-19
vaccines from Germany's BioNTech.
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co has a
contract with BioNTech to sell the vaccines in Greater China,
including to Taiwan, but Taiwan's government says it will only
deal with Germany's BioNTech directly and does not trust
vaccines from China.
Outside of Greater China, BioNTech has partnered with Pfizer
Taiwan is under its second-highest level of curbs to stop
the spread of infections, including limiting personal gatherings
and closing entertainment venues.
Chen said the task was to ensure those measures were being
properly enforced, adding, "At present there are no plans or
intentions for a lockdown."
Taiwan reported 355 domestic COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down
from 486 on Saturday. Total daily cases peaked on May 17 and
have been falling since Friday.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by William Mallard and