Last September, Taiwan’s “Minister of Health and Welfare” Chen Shizhong publicly announced that he would not choose the mainland’s coronavirus vaccine.
Recently, due to the impact of some foreign vaccine production capacity, it may be difficult to deliver vaccines ordered in many parts of the world, including Taiwan, which has temporarily made Chen Shizhong and his decision-making the focus of attention on the island for a while.
As of December last year, Chen Shizhong had announced that he had ordered nearly 20 million doses of vaccine through the COVAX vaccine procurement program, AstraZeneca and other institutions, which were originally expected to arrive in March this year.
However, as British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca suddenly broke its promise and planned to significantly reduce the supply of vaccines, many countries and regions ordering vaccines from the company faced difficulties in obtaining vaccines on time.
Because he said at the beginning that he would never buy vaccines developed and produced by the mainland, many people asked Chen Shizhong to explain the original “pan-politicized” procurement decision at a time when there were major changes in Taiwan’s current vaccine procurement work.
Judging from the response to the media in the past few days, Chen Shizhong played “Taijiquan”.
At the press conference on the 27th, Chen Shizhong did not mention the original decision to “avoid the mainland vaccine”, but also avoided the progress of vaccine procurement that everyone was most concerned about.
Instead, he shouted to the media that “it will be difficult to talk too much” and “don’t embarrass Taiwan”
On January 28, Chen Shizhong was still unwilling to talk about the issue of “opening vaccinations to the public in March” on the news program, but accused “some big countries of over-procuring”. Chen Shizhong said that a large country bought more than four times the number of vaccines of its population.
“Others are saving lives. Do you buy them there and put them bad?” Chen Shizhong scolded some countries’ practices without naming on the program.
Regarding the question why the mainland vaccine is not purchased, Chen Shizhong vaguely said that the mainland vaccine “has no scientific report on effectiveness and is not attractive”, but did not give specific reasons.
Compared with the roll call of some over-purchase countries, Chen Shizhong is not so polite to the United Nations and the World Health Organization, which Taiwan has been unable to participate as a “member state”.
He denounced “the United Nations and the WHO are not good” and did not interfere in the over-purchase of certain countries.
However, although Chen Shizhong tried to attribute Taiwan’s current vaccine procurement problem to the irresponsible practices of some countries, from many sources in the past, his own statement of “persevering on not using a mainland vaccine” has also brought great difficulties to Taiwan’s procurement.
In September 2020, after excluding the mainland vaccine, due to the lack of logistics and transportation capacity of the Taiwan authorities themselves, the Taiwan authorities could purchase only one of the nine vaccines in the world that entered the third phase of clinical trials.
On October 12, Taiwan Toyo announced that it had acquired the agency rights of Germany’s BioNTech (BNT) coronavirus vaccine in Taiwan.
Soon after, it was revealed that the vaccine was made by Germany’s BNT company in cooperation with the mainland and was subject to mainland supervision and approval, that is, Chen Shizhong claimed to be “absolute not to buy” the mainland vaccine. .
At the press conference on the 27th, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said in response to Chen Shizhong’s speech that “political epidemic prevention” was not helpful, and we should seek solutions from science and facts.
In an interview, Ma Ying-jeou, a former leader in Taiwan, was also asked whether a vaccine is a way to alleviate cross-strait relations. Ma Ying-jeou said that if Taiwan could accept “of course”, Taiwan refused to accept it.