The Tzu Chi Foundation signed a purchase contract with Shanghai Fosun for 5 million doses of the Pfiser-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccine and a donation agreement with the Taiwan government on Wednesday (July 21), an Executive Yuan spokesperson announced at an online press conference.
Cabinet Spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng pointed out that with the government’s authorisation, the Tzu Chi Foundation 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 to receive the 5 million doses for distribution to the public.
The CDC will apply for an emergency use authorisation (EUA) from Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration to import a total of 15 million doses of vaccines donated by Tzu Chi Foundation, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), and the YongLin Charity and Education Foundation of Foxconn. Residents aged 12 to 18 will be included in the 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 detail 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 cooperated to handle international vaccine procurement,” Lo said. As to whether the use of the phrase “Taiwan region” in the press release issued by Pfiser, 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 adopted on the procurement contracts.
Regarding whether the 15 million BNT doses will be partially reserved for the staff of the donor organisations, Lo said they were donated unconditionally and that the final distribution will be handed over to the CDC.