The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation yesterday signed a contract with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co (上海復星醫藥集團) to purchase 5 million doses of BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, the Executive Yuan said.
Shanghai Fosun is the German company’s agent for distributing COVID-19 vaccines in Taiwan and China, including Hong Kong and Macau.
At about 8am, the foundation submitted documents to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to be reviewed, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference in the afternoon.
Photo courtesy of the Executive Yuan
At about 10am, CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) signed a contract with the foundation regarding its plan to donate the BioNTech vaccines to the government, Lo said.
In terms of donation principles, the contract framework and conditions, the government’s deal with the foundation is the same as its agreements with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and the Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密)-affiliated Yonglin Foundation, Lo said.
The vaccines would be delivered by BioNTech to Taiwan directly and items would not be labeled with the vaccine’s Chinese name, Comirnaty (復必泰), sources familiar with the matter said.
The vaccines procured by the three entities would arrive before the end of September, the sources said, adding that the unit prices for each are similar.
The special project of the Executive Yuan allowed the entities to procure a combined 15 million doses, 5 million each, from the German firm, which is to deliver them in several shipments, Lo said.
The BioNTech vaccines would be distributed via the government’s online COVID-19 vaccination booking system when they become available, he said.
The CDC would apply for emergency use authorization permits from the Food and Drug Administration to import and use the vaccines, Lo said.
People aged 12 to 18 have been approved to receive shots of the BioNTech vaccine, he said.
Asked about difficulties with the Tzu Chi foundation’s application, Lo said that it filed its proposal with the ministry on June 23, but the Executive Yuan initially did not give its approval, as it was tackling the TSMC and YongLin Foundation applications.
After deliberation, the Executive Yuan on July 1 also established a special project for the Tzu Chi foundation’s plan, he said.
The CDC on July 9 signed documents with the Tzu Chi foundation for vaccine procurement, he said.
The Executive Yuan completed the procedure in one month because it used the same model as the other two projects, he said.
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