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Taiwan willing to share homegrown COVID vaccines with allies

Two domestic vaccines show efficacy against COVID variants, likely to be rolled out in July

Researchers at Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp.

Researchers at Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is willing to share its homegrown coronavirus vaccines with diplomatic allies once the manufacturers secure emergency use authorization for their products, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday (April 20).

During a press conference, Alexander Yui (俞大㵢), director-general of the MOFA Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said the country would not hesitate to provide its locally developed vaccines to allies after domestic demand is met. He said using the vaccines as foreign aid would certainly be an option for the Taiwanese government, as Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) had previously suggested.

Yui said some allies have already contacted Taiwan about its vaccines and that the government is helping them meet the demand by engaging with other like-minded nations. He added that the country has been providing masks and other medical equipment to its partners since last year.

When asked about Beijing's attempt to lure Paraguay into breaking off relations with Taiwan in exchange for inoculations, Yui assured the press that bilateral ties with the South American country remain steady. He said the crisis was de-escalated after Taiwan helped Paraguay secure a large batch of doses from India.

Earlier this week, two Taiwanese vaccine manufacturers — Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (高端疫苗) and United Biomedical (聯亞生技) — announced that their vaccine candidates have entered phase 2 clinical trials. They said antibody tests for the vaccine hopefuls indicate satisfactory efficacy against variants from both the U.K. and South Africa.

Taiwan is currently administering AstraZeneca vaccine doses that it purchased directly from the company and secured through COVAX. The Central Epidemic Command Center has said the country will likely receive 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine in May and have its domestic shots ready by July.

Updated : 2021-05-14 13:36 GMT+08:00