Taiwan can’t afford to donate vaccines to Paraguay: health minister

The health chief has denied a rumor that Taiwan will donate its AstraZeneca vaccines to Paraguay. According to digital news outlet Up Media, Taiwan has agreed to give away 2 million doses of its AZ vaccines to support its ally, Paraguay. Health minister Chen Shih-chung nixed the rumor on Wednesday, saying that Taiwan doesn”t have enough vaccines to go around.

The health minister reported for questioning at the legislature on Wednesday. Concerns focused on Taiwan”s AZ vaccines, which were due to complete the testing process that day. Amid reports in Europe of allergic reactions and blood clots after inoculation, the press asked what Chen would need to see before suspending the vaccines.

Chen Shih-chung
Health minister
That would be scientific evidence. It would be nothing more than related assessments, such as those indicating that there are certain sensitive groups, or that certain background values were exceeded, etc. We need to collect extensive information before making a judgment.

Chen emphasized that he needed scientific proof before stopping the rollout. Meanwhile lawmakers are volunteering for the vaccine to show support.

Lai Hui-yuan
DPP lawmaker
We of the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee are willing to take the lead in getting the vaccine. We”re inviting committee chairwoman Chen Yu-jen to join us.

Chen Shih-chung
Health minister
We do still have to respect the views of experts, because at this point in time, it”s not as if we have extra vaccines to go around.

Chen Yu-jen
KMT lawmaker
I personally have no problem with getting any vaccine. That”s my personal stance. I don”t have a problem getting any vaccine. Everything in life is transient, and death is not to be feared.

The lawmaker”s words of confidence had an uneasy reception. In related news, a rumor has cropped up that Taiwan plans to donate 2 million vaccines to Paraguay. The health minister firmly denied it on Wednesday.

Chen Shih-chung
Health minister
At this moment, we cannot afford to give away vaccines. I have heard nothing of the sort.

Director-General Alexander Yui
MOFA Latin American & Caribbean Affairs dept.
This is a piece of disinformation with no basis in fact. The report states that they will use our money for purchasing vaccines. It is true that they will use the money we provide under a bilateral cooperation framework – that is, our five-year cooperation plan with the government of Paraguay. In the future, if they sign a contract for vaccines, our money will be used to buy it. They agreed to it, and we agreed to it.

Speaking to lawmakers, the diplomat said that funds allocated to Paraguay under a cooperation plan will be used by that country to purchase vaccines. He emphasized that Taiwan did not intend to give away its own vaccines.

Video originally published at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-uQzBStVlc

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