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.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”
WASHED ASHORE: Of the 16 bodies discovered along Taiwan’s west coast this month, two were Vietnamese and five were Taiwanese, coast guard officials said Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he has instructed prosecutors and maritime authorities to launch investigations after 16 bodies were found along Taiwan’s west coast this month, amid speculation that they were victims of smuggling or human trafficking rings. Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials said the bodies, most of which had washed ashore, were found by coast guard personnel and local residents along the coastline from Keelung to Kaohsiung. Thirteen of the bodies are male and three are female, the CGA said, adding that items found on the bodies indicate that two of the men were Vietnamese, while three men