Foxconn and TSMC granted permission to buy COVID-19 vaccines for Taiwan: Report

Foxconn and TSMC are aiming to purchase 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine each, before donating them to the Taiwanese government.

The Taiwanese government has recruited tech giants Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) to purchase COVID-19 vaccines on its behalf.

As reported by Nikkei Asia, the Taiwanese government said on Friday it would allow both companies to negotiate on its behalf with German-based vaccine maker BioNTech. While negotiations are ongoing, both companies said they are looking to purchase 5 million doses each, before donating them to the government.

"The government thinks that it may be easier for companies to reach out to vaccine makers or distributors to lower the geopolitical interference," one source told Nikkei Asia.

Taiwan has been struggling to secure vaccines due to geopolitical tension. President Tsai Ing-wen had previously accused China of interfering in her government's attempt to buy vaccines from BioNTech, something in which Beijing has strongly denied.  

The Taiwanese Department of Information Services revealed that as of Friday, 1.24 million doses had been donated by Japan, and confirmed all cities and counties had begun "actively" administering the jabs last week.

On Sunday, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took to Twitter to also welcome 2.5 million doses from the United States. It comes after the United States had already donated an initial 750,000 doses.

Taiwan's push to roll out additional vaccines comes as case numbers continue to spike in the island territory, which at the start of the pandemic was pinned as a model example of how to control the spread of the virus.

Both TSMC and Foxconn have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

In April, TSMC said it expects chip supply shortages will continue through 2022, but plans to spend $100 billion over three years to boost capacity.