TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said Tuesday (May 18) that COVAX expects Taiwan should be able to obtain a second shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines by the end of June at the latest.
Gavi told Reuters, "The goal is to deliver 76 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to 80 countries from February to June. We expect to deliver the next batch of vaccines to Taiwan soon."
Taiwan's health authorities have postponed all vaccination appointments to make sure nurses and other medical workers can get vaccinated. AstraZeneca said it is committed to broad and equitable access to the vaccine through the COVAX facility, including for Taiwan.
Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) told reporters there was "no new progress" to report on the arrival of more vaccines but that a lot more would gradually come, Reuters said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan expects to roll out its domestically produced vaccines by July.
The nation's envoy to the U.S., Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), said last Friday that she is making sure the U.S.-made Moderna vaccines secured by Taiwan will arrive in the country in June. Taiwan has so far purchased 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, 10 million doses of AstraZeneca, and 4.76 million doses of other brands through COVAX.
The nation is currently facing a surge in domestic COVID-19 cases, with more than 700 cases reported in just three days. Reuters reported that while the Taiwan government is trying to control the epidemic, it has to also deal with threats from China.
A security official told the news agency that Taipei is concerned about Beijing’s cognitive warfare operations against Taiwan, which create chaos and undermine public trust in how the pandemic is being handled.
"They are trying to highlight the efficacy of the Chinese vaccines and how the government is blindly pinning its hopes on vaccines from the United States and home-made vaccines," he said.