Foxconn and TSMC said that they had reached deals to buy 10 million doses of Germany’s BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine. The company contributes the total cost of the highly politicised deal at around $350 million.The Government of Taiwan has tried for months to buy the vaccine directly from BioNTech and has blamed China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own territory, for nixing an agreement the two sides were due to sign earlier this year.
China denies the accusations.Last month, facing public pressure about the slow pace of Taiwan’s inoculation programme, the government agreed to allow Foxconn founder Terry Gou, as well as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to negotiate on its behalf for the vaccines.BioNTech’s Chinese sales agent Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd said on Sunday that an agreement had been signed, but did not give details of a delivery timeframe.
Taiwan’s Cabinet said the vaccines would be donated for free to the government.Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told reporters the government was also looking to buy 15 million Moderna Inc shots for next year and the year after.The BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine drama has transfixed Taiwan and dominated headlines. While a relatively small domestic coronavirus outbreak is largely under control, only about a tenth of its 23.5 million people have received at least one of a two-shot regime.TSMC and Foxconn, both major Apple Inc suppliers, said in a joint statement the first BioNTech vaccines were not expected to arrive until late September at the earliest, shipped directly from Germany, but did not say how many would come at first.