Taiwan says BioNTech will sign coronavirus vaccine deal

Taiwan health minister Chen Shih- chung said Thursday that he was “certain” that Germany’s BioNTech will sign a deal to supply vaccines, just one day after he announced that such a deal fell through in December due to “outside interference,” CNA reports.

“We believe that BNT will surmount all obstacles, sign the contract soon and work with Taiwan to bring an end to the pandemic,” Chen said at a press conference.

A day earlier, Chen disclosed on a radio show that Taiwan was close to securing 5 million doses of the vaccine developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German biotech firm BNT last December, when BNT called off the deal at the last minute.

Chen hinted that Chinese pressure was behind the cancellation, although he also said in the same interview that the status of the deal was “pending.”

After Chen’s comments, BNT told Reuters early Thursday that “BioNTech is committed to help bringing an end to the pandemic for people across the world and we intend to supply Taiwan with our vaccine as part of this global commitment.”

The company also said that its discussions with Taiwan “are ongoing.”

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