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Taiwan seeking to produce Moderna vaccine doses

Samsung's deal to manufacture Moderna doses might affect Taiwan's efforts

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Taiwan wants to produce Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. 

Taiwan wants to produce Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is actively seeking to help with its efforts to produce Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses, but the United States is protective of mRNA knowhow, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Wednesday (Nov. 3).

The health ministry in 2020 entrusted its National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) with finding opportunities to produce vaccines as a subcontractor, UDN reported. Initially, the NHRI approached AstraZeneca through its contacts at Oxford University, but talks failed after the company demanded a production capacity of 300 million doses and Taiwan could only offer 100 million.

Responding to questions from legislators Wednesday, Chen said discussions with Moderna had not produced any results yet, and the NHRI said regular talks are underway with the hope that Taiwan can be involved in science-related production.

The country’s chances might be affected by the fact that South Korea’s Samsung Group recently began production of Moderna doses, leaving only post-production tasks like packaging and labeling for Taiwan, Chen said.

Nevertheless, as relations with the United States are developing in a positive way, he said there is still a possibility of reaching an agreement. Taiwan’s advantages are the availability of local talent, production quality, and the legal environment, according to the minister.