TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will get a share of 1.3 million COVID-19 vaccine shots produced by AstraZeneca Plc from the COVAX global vaccine programme, the government said on Thursday, but without providing a timeframe or further details.
Taiwan has kept the pandemic well under control thanks to early and effective prevention, with only 71 active cases, but it has not yet received any vaccines.
In December, Taiwan said it had agreed to buy almost 20 million vaccine doses, including 10 million from AstraZeneca and 4.76 million doses from COVAX, and that it was in talks with another company it did not identify.
Deliveries were initially expected from March, but the government has subsequently declined to commit to a date.
In a statement, the Central Epidemic Command Centre said that of the 1.3 million doses COVAX has set aside for non-United Nations members, a proportion would go to Taiwan.
The government is in contact with COVAX about deliveries, it added, without giving further details.
Taiwan is not a U.N. member due to China’s objections, which considers the democratic island Chinese territory with no right to the trappings of a state.
Taiwan has sought Germany’s help in securing COVID-19 vaccines, Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said last week, after Berlin asked for the island’s assistance in easing a shortage of automobile semiconductor chips.
Taiwan is also developing domestic vaccines, though progress has been slow.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Jason Neely)