《TAIPEI TIMES》 China jabs ‘not an option for us’: CECC
A healthcare professional prepares a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm jab to vaccinate Serbian Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar at the Institute of Virology in Belgrade on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
BANNED: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said the importation of Chinese vaccines is illegal and there is not yet proof that they are actually effective
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The law prohibits Taiwan from importing vaccines made in China and no scientific evidence has shown Chinese COVID-19 vaccines to be highly effective, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中） said yesterday.
Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC）, made the remarks in response to media inquiries about an interview given by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je （柯文哲）, which was published online on Friday.
In the interview, Ko said that he expects political squabbles in March to center around Taiwan being unable to secure COVID-19 vaccines from the UK or the US, but having anxiety and debate over whether to accept vaccines from China, if Beijing offered them to Taiwan for free.
Ko added his prediction is that the COVID-19 situation will ease in August.
Asked to elaborate, Ko on Friday afternoon said that more than 20 percent of Israel’s population has been vaccinated, so it might become the first country to exit the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most vaccines remain in developed countries, so Taiwan would feel pressured when many countries begin vaccination programs by March, Ko said.
At the CECC’s daily briefing yesterday, Chen said that laws in Taiwan stipulate that it cannot import vaccines made in China.
“The effectiveness of Chinese [COVID-19] vaccines don’t seem to be particularly good,” Chen said, adding that no published technical reports or research papers have proven their effectiveness.
“From a legal perspective and a practical perspective, Chinese vaccines are not an option for us,” Chen said.
The center would continue to work on vaccine procurement and domestic vaccine development, he said, adding that people do not need to trouble each other over whether they should get a Chinese vaccine.
“If anyone thinks we should import Chinese vaccines, they can propose to amend the law, and can present scientific evidence proving that the vaccines are highly effective so that it can be discussed further,” Chen said.
Separately yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang （蘇貞昌） said that the government has confidence in its vaccine procurement and has purchased a certain number of doses.
Development of a domestic vaccine has also made some progress, so people do not need to worry, Su said.