The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday doubled down on its criticism of the government’s COVID-19 vaccine policy, saying it has failed to make adequate preparations for emerging variants.
Former KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) wrote on Facebook about the spread of the Delta, Delta-plus and other COVID-19 variants that are more infectious and resistant to vaccines than the Alpha variant that is dominant in Taiwan.
The outbreak that began last month shows that border controls alone cannot stop the virus’ spread, Chu wrote, adding that the nation’s reliance on foreign-donated vaccines and delays in shipments of its orders bode ill for the country.
Photo: Hsu Chuo-hsun, Taipei Times
“We have made no preparations to administer three [COVID-19] vaccine jabs or acquire second-generation vaccines,” he said. “Experts have recommended giving three shots.”
A study reported in a research letter on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine said that administration of a third dose of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine “to solid-organ transplant recipients significantly improved the immunogenicity of the vaccine,” although it did not make a recommendation about mass inoculation.
Taiwan should pursue international COVID-19 vaccine contract manufacturing orders, purchase huge quantities of vaccines and develop second-generation vaccines domestically, Chu said.
Separately, asked about some KMT members’ description of Taiwan as a “vaccine beggar,” Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) on Tuesday said it could dishearten the nation’s friends.
“Naturally, donors would feel that this is a setback; these countries would then reassess whether to provide further shipments,” he said.
KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of “politicizing pandemic policy.”
Foreign vaccine donations came at the expense of the “cries and lives of the nation’s citizens,” and are proof that the international community recognizes the incompetence of the government, Chiang said during a radio interview.
Hsieh was twisting facts and shifting blame when he should be demanding that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration obtain more internationally certified vaccines, he said.
The KMT supports Taiwan developing its own COVID-19 vaccines, but their safety should be backed by international certification, or Taiwan’s biotechnology industry would be damaged if locally made vaccines turn out to be problematic, he said.
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