Taipei [Taiwan], February 18 (ANI): Taiwan was close to receiving 5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine late last year but the deal was called off due to interferences from outside sources, said Chen Shih-Chung, Taiwan Health Minister.
Speaking on a local radio show on Wednesday, Chen said that Taiwan had started reaching out to the international companies, who were developing vaccines against the coronavirus, in June last year.
By December, Taiwan was close to securing 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech (BNT) through direct negotiations with BNT, Focus Taiwan quoted him Chen as saying.
He said, "We were at the final step in the process, and we had already written and read each other's press releases," but "Maybe someone did not want Taiwan to be too happy".
However, he refused to tell any details on what the BNT had said when the deal fell off.
According to Fous Taiwan, the show's host, Clara Chou, speculated without citing any sources that the interference came from China and the Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, a Chinese company that is BNT's agent for the COVID-19 vaccine in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
On December 30, Chen had announced that 5 million doses of vaccine against coronavirus have been secured from an international company.
However, he was criticised at the time for not being transparent about the vaccine issue, though Chen said he was in reality "suffering in silence", Focus Taiwan reported.
Meanwhile, Taiwan, to date, has secured 14.76 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by US company Moderna. (ANI)