Taiwan’s tech giants Foxconn and TSMC order 10 million doses of Pfizer jabs for government distribution

Two Taiwanese firms are buying 10 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine worth $352 million to donate to the government for distribution.

Foxconn, the firm that makes devices for Apple, and chip giant TSMC brokered the agreements from Germany’s BioNTech.

The self-ruled island territory for months has been working to buy vaccines but it has blamed China for blocking deals. China however denies these accusations.

The deal was announced in a statement by BioNTech’s Chinese sales agent Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group.

Fosun Pharma’s chairman and chief executive Wu Yifang said they would “work closely with our partners to provide safe and effective vaccines to Taiwan at an early date”.

BioNTech developed the mRNA vaccine, which is marketed as Comirnaty, in collaboration with the US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer.

Taiwan’s government has faced intense pressure from the public to speed up its coronavirus vaccination programme.

Last month the government agreed to allow Foxconn’s chairman Terry Gou and TSMC to negotiate deals for the vaccines on its behalf.

A major Taiwanese Buddhist group, the Tzu Chi Foundation, is also trying to buy vaccines for Taiwan.

Separately, the US and Japan have donated a total of almost five million Covid vaccine doses to Taiwan to help the island accelerate its vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has millions of vaccines on order, mainly from AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Just 0.3% of Taiwan’s population is fully vaccinated.

Last week, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said the government aims to have 25% of its population vaccinated with at least one dose of a two-shot jab by the end of July.