《TAIPEI TIMES》 Ex-VP backs US call at summit to share vaccines
Former vice president Chen Chien-jen, right, attends the virtual Global COVID-19 Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Photo: Yang Cheng-yu, Taipei Times
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
Former vice president Chen Chien-jen （陳建仁） on Wednesday endorsed US President Joe Biden’s call to share vaccines with other countries during the Global COVID-19 Summit hosted by Biden.
The online summit was about supercharging efforts in three key areas: vaccinating the world, expanding the availability of medical treatment and public health tools, and reinforcing the global health security infrastructure, Biden said in his speech, a White House transcript showed.
Biden announced that the US would purchase another 500 million doses of BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine to donate to low and middle-income countries.
“We need other high-income countries to deliver on their own ambitious vaccine donations and pledges,” Biden added.
In a pre-recorded speech, Chen thanked the Czech Republic, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and the US for donating COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.
Since the pandemic started, Taiwan has launched four waves of humanitarian assistance, and donated more than 54 million masks and other supplies to more than 80 countries, said Chen, an epidemiologist with Academia Sinica.
“Once there is enough supply to meet domestic need, we want to share our vaccines with other countries,” Chen said, adding that Taiwan would also continue to donate masks and other medical supplies to countries in need.
“For our common vision of building back better, we will seek to contribute to the global health security financial intermediary fund that the United States plans to establish,” he said.
Taiwan’s domestic COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp （高端疫苗）, was made available to people aged 20 or older from Aug. 23.
Medigen is conducting phase 3 clinical trials in Paraguay, while its plan to conduct similar trials in Europe has received a “positive response” from the European Medicines Agency, the firm said on Wednesday.
After Taiwan’s participation at an international meeting on fighting the Ebola virus in March, its participation in the US-led pandemic summit shows the two nations’ close cooperation on public health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday.
Also speaking at the event were US Vice President Kamala Harris, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and leaders from Australia, Germany and New Zealand, the ministry said.
“It’s good that the U.S. summit on #COVID19 included #Taiwan. Taiwan has been a leader in tackling the global pandemic and should be able to participate fully in #UNGA events on global health,” US Senator Jim Risch wrote on Twitter.