Taiwanese skeptical over China's offer to provide COVID vaccines

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Representative image

Taipei [Taiwan], May 29 (ANI): As China offered to provide Taiwan with Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, the majority of Taiwanese are skeptical of Beijing's motives and of the vaccines which have lower levels of efficacy than many competitors.

The Chinese government has offered to help Taiwan to deal with the current outbreak by sending more COVID-19 vaccines.

On May 24, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said it had repeatedly offered to help Taiwan and claimed that certain groups and people in Taiwan have been calling for the purchase of Chinese vaccines.

"Our attitude is very clear: we are willing to make arrangements quickly so that the vast majority of Taiwan compatriots will have mainland vaccines to use as soon as possible," the office said.

Taiwan is witnessing a new surge in the COVID-19 crisis. It has reported 7,315 cases and 78 deaths so far.

However, an opinion poll conducted by the Global Views Monthly in Taiwan revealed very few people in Taiwan are willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines from mainland China, DW reported.

The February poll showed that only 1.3 per cent of the respondents would choose COVID-19 vaccines from China.

Health experts also have concerns about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines from the mainland, citing China's poor track record of complying with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations.

"Usually, the approval of a vaccine should ensure that the manufacturing process and the delivery process of the vaccine meet the existing requirements," said Ho Mei-Shang, professor at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Taiwan's Academic Sinica.

"So far, we cannot monitor any of the processes mentioned above, so I do not think Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration will do something that they think is risky," Ho told DW.

Recently, Taiwan directly accused China of blocking a deal with German firm BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccines.

"Taiwan was close to sealing the deal with the German plant, but because of China's intervention, we still cannot sign the contract," the island's President Tsai Ing-wen said in a meeting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), this is the first time Taiwan has directly accused Beijing of blocking a deal with BioNTech.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

While Taiwan has effectively ruled out the possibility of importing Chinese vaccines to solve its problem, it is looking to the United States for vaccines.

Meanwhile, the US government has asked American vaccine manufacturers to prioritise Taiwan as it scrambles to inoculate its people against COVID-19 amid the country's worst outbreak. (ANI)