TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Tzu Chi Foundation signed a contract with Shanghai Fosun for 5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccine and a donation agreement with the Taiwanese government on Wednesday (July 21).
Cabinet Spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) pointed out at an online press conference that with the government’s authorization, the Tzu Chi Foundation had signed a deal with the regional distributor of the BNT vaccine on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, a vaccine donation agreement was signed by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) for the 5 million doses to be distributed to the public.
The CDC will apply for an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration to import a total of 15 million vaccine doses donated by Tzu Chi Foundation, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), and the YongLin Foundation. People ages 12 to 18 will be included in the BioNTech vaccine drive, Lo said.
He also pointed out that the 15 million BNT doses will be distributed through batches in a unified manner due to the large volume of shipments, with the timing, priority, and quantity arranged in accordance with existing policies and schedules. The spokesperson declined to give specifics about arrival dates and prices.
The vaccine procurement model for the Tzu Chi Foundation was exactly the same as that of TSMC and the YongLin Foundation, including procurement contracts and packaging requirements, according to Lo.
“The purchase faced certain difficulties and obstacles, so we created a ‘public-private partnership model’ in which the private sector contributed capital and resources while the government helped with international vaccine procurement,” Lo said.
As for whether the use of the phrase “Taiwan region” in the press release issued by Pfizer, BioNTech, and Shanghai Fosun has belittled the nation, Lo emphasized that efforts were made to ensure “national interests are assured while vaccines are purchasable.”
The spokesperson also underscored that the official name of the nation was used in the procurement contracts.
Regarding whether the 15 million BNT doses will be partially reserved for the staff of the donor organizations, Lo said they were donated without conditions and that final distribution will be handled by the CDC.