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Foxconn, TSMC secure 10M COVID-19 vaccines for Taiwan

Foxconn, TSMC secure 10M COVID-19 vaccines for Taiwan
TSMC along with Foxconn inked a deal with Germany's BioNTech to secure 10 million vaccines for Taiwan. Photo by David Chang/EPA-EFE

July 12 (UPI) -- Taiwanese firms Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company agreed on Monday to purchase 10 million doses of Germany's BioNTech vaccine to donate them to health authorities as their government struggles to gain supplies to vaccinate its population against the COVID-19 pandemic.

BioNTech's Chinese sales agent, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, announced the deal Monday in a statement, stating it has reached an advanced procurement agreement with the companies for a total of 10 million vaccine doses that "will be donated to relevant agency of disease control of Taiwan region for local vaccination."

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"We are glad to see that the vaccine co-developed by Fosun Pharma and BioNTech could play a positive role in the prevention and control of the epidemic in Taiwan," said Wu Yifang, chairman and chief executive of Fosun Pharma.

Foxconn is the world's largest electronics manufacturer that makes goods for companies such as Apple and TSMC is one of the world's largest semiconductor firms.

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Terry Gou, Foxconn's founder and chief executive, wrote on his personal Facebook page on Monday that the plan was first revealed to relevant authorities on May 23 and that Beijing neither provided guidance nor interfered in the process.

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"We can't relax because we will continue to work hard to urge for the delivery time and quantity," he said. "However, this batch of vaccines delivered directly from the German factory is believed to help Taiwanese society to increase confidence and offer respite in the face of the epidemic."

TSMC and Foxconn said Monday that the agreement is worth about $350 million with the first batch of doses to be delivered by September, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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The deal was announcement following months during which Taiwan has failed to purchase doses of the BioNTech vaccine with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen saying in late May that the deal has been blocked "because of China's intervention."

China views Taiwan as a rogue province and frequently thwarts its attempts to assert independence while also condemning foreign nations that acknowledge the island as separate from Beijing.

According to Oxford University's Our World In Data project, Taiwan as of Saturday has inoculated 13.79% of its 3.36 million population with at least one dose, substantially lower than Canada's nearly 70%.

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Taiwan has more than 15,000 cumulative COVID-19 infections to the pandemic, including 740 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's live tracker of the virus.

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