The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday published its COVID-19 vaccine procurement contract with Taiwan-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) after the company’s board of directors agreed to an early disclosure of the agreement.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had repeatedly asked the CDC to publish the contract, saying the government might be concealing secrets from the public.
Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) last week said the government could not unilaterally disclose the contract due to a confidentiality agreement, but that it was negotiating with Medigen in hopes that it would agree to an early disclosure.
At an impromptu news conference yesterday afternoon, CDC Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said Medigen informed the agency at 3:30pm yesterday that its board of directors had agreed to let it publish the contract.
Chuang said the CDC and Medigen had signed a procurement contract and a confidentiality agreement, ensuring that both sides do not disclose the details of the contract, which is in line with international commercial practices, and that many governments have also signed confidentiality agreements when they signed procurement contracts with vaccine producers.
The procurement contract was signed on May 28, 2021, according to the Public Construction Commission’s procurement contract template, but it lacked a commercial confidentiality agreement, so both sides had an oral contract to adhere to non-disclosure obligations, he said.
Medigen on June 8, 2021, asked to sign a supplementary confidentiality agreement to prevent leaks of ingredients, which was signed on July 19, 2021, he added.
According to the confidentiality agreement with Medigen, the confidentiality period was set at five years after the date of signing, but to bolster the public’s confidence, both sides agreed to disclose the information earlier, he said.
There is no agreement to keep the contract “sealed for 30 years” as some politicians have claimed, he said.
Confidentiality agreements for vaccine procurement are not new, as the CDC also signed a seven-year confidentiality agreement with Novartis when it purchased the influenza A (H1N1) monovalent vaccine in 2009, and agreements with different confidentiality periods were signed with AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna for their COVID-19 vaccines, he said.
Regarding vaccine prices, he said that when the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced in November 2020 that it planned to spend NT$11.5 billion (US$366.34 million) to purchase 15 million doses — or about NT$700 per dose — it was an estimated price that did not include cold chain logistics and other costs.
During the bargaining process from February to May 2021, Medigen offered a quote of NT$950 per dose, and the CDC negotiated the price to NT$881 apiece for single-dose vials and NT$810 for multi-dose vials, Chuang said.
The company must also the distribute the vaccine to no fewer than 200 locations, and be responsible for the vaccines from inspection to shipping, and the cost of disposal and other operating fees, he said.
The company had previously disclosed the prices of the vaccine and now that the full contract has been published with the consent of both sides, there is no breach of contract and it would not affect the CDC’s credit in purchasing vaccines in future, he said.
The 58-page vaccine procurement contract has been published on the CDC’s official Web site.
CAMBODIAN CON: The two men filmed videos with made-up content with a focus on purported human trafficking, beatings and sexual assaults by scammers Cambodian authorities yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese to two years in prison and a NT$30,000 fine each for staging a kidnapping in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville which they live streamed online. Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), 31, and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), 34, were convicted of inciting and causing social disorder a day after Cambodian police officials convened a news conference about their arrest. Chen, who goes by the online name “Goodnight Chicken” (晚安小雞), and Lu, known by the handle “Anow” (阿鬧), must each pay 4 million riels (US$982), according to a court filing. The court said the duo arrived in the Cambodian capital, Phnom
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the