Taiwan says AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine production talks fell through

TAIPEI (REUTERS) – Taiwan discussed with AstraZeneca producing their Covid-19 vaccine but the talks fell through as the government felt they could not produce the 300 million shots requested, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Thursday (June 10).

Taiwan has been striving to speed up deliveries of the 20 million vaccine doses it has ordered from overseas, including from AstraZeneca and Moderna, as it battles a spike in domestic infections.

Only around 3 per cent of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one shot so far, with further supplies held up by global production problems.

Taking lawmaker questions in Parliament, Chen said they had talked with AstraZeneca about producing 100 million doses on the firm’s behalf, but the company had said they had hoped for a minimum of 300 million doses.

“We considered that it would be difficult, and would fully occupy production lines. It’s not possible for Taiwan to consume so much,” he said.

AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chen said on Tuesday that production problems at AstraZeneca’s Thailand plant would delay deliveries.

On Saturday, he said Taiwan was in talks with US companies about making their Covid-19 vaccines, though he did not name them.

Taiwan has also ordered 10 million domestically developed vaccines from two local firms.

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