Taiwan Says BioNTech Vaccine Deal on Hold, Cites Potential Beijing Pressure

TAIPEI—A deal for Taiwan to buy 5 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech SE is on hold, the island’s health minister said on Wednesday, citing potential pressure from Beijing for the delay. Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said officials were on the verge of announcing the deal in December when BioNTech pulled the plug. While he did not directly say Beijing was to blame, Chen implied there was a political dimension to the decision and that he had been worried about “outside forces intervening,” hence his caution in discussing the planned deal publicly. “Certain people don’t want Taiwan to be too happy,” he added, without elaborating, in a radio interview. China’s ruling communist party, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has repeatedly sparred with the island over the coronavirus pandemic. Taiwan has been angered by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) assertion only it can speak …

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