TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Veteran TV host Chang Hsiao-yen (張小燕) called on the government Monday (May 31) to free up controls on importing vaccines.
Popularly known as “the mother of entertainment,” the 72-year-old made her plea in a Facebook post. The post had a dark background, with a picture of someone kneeling and the caption:
“Save lives! Everyone is our family. Taiwanese lives also matter. Please don’t make situation tougher, just give us vaccines!” The post garnered more than 40,000 likes in a 10-hour period.
Presidential Office Spokesperson Chang Tun-Han (張惇涵) appeared to announce a shift in government attitude on Sunday (May 30) by saying that religious groups, or local city governments are welcome to purchase vaccines on their own. Previously, the government insisted on controlling the purchase and distribution of vaccines — a stance that has been criticized.
As the rate of local transmission for COVID-19 has spiked in Taipei City and New Taipei City, the latter's mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said many companies and local organizations wanted to buy vaccines from abroad, but government policies were preventing them from doing so. He urged the government to relax controls, saying, “They are all my relatives. Please don’t make it difficult for Taiwan to gain valid vaccines.”
There was some backlash against Chang Hsiao-yen's views, however, with online comments saying: “Buying vaccines is not like shopping in Costco,” and, "So, you think you can buy fake vaccines even if directly purchased from the distributor authorized by the original factory?”
According to the CECC’s latest figures on Sunday (May 30), there have been 8,160 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 109 deaths.
Chang Hsiao-yen's Facebook post.