The discussion about the Medigen vaccine has become even more political after a statement issued by the University of Asuncion said the vaccine's clinical trial conducted in Paraguay was commissioned by China-Taiwan. The wording has then been edited while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that "China-Taiwan" is an abbreviation.
Medigen's Phase 3 clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine will be conducted by the Paraguay's National University of Asuncion. An official statement released by the university said the organizer of the trial was "China-Taiwan. Taipei City Councilor Chang Si-kang is questioning if Medigen, in a rush to get its product to market, intentionally turned a blind eye to this.
Chang Si-kang, Taipei City Councilor (KMT):” Isn't this, in fact, the Republic of China commissioning the Paraguay's National University of Asuncion to conduct a Phase 3 clinical trial? Why are they using the wrong official title? When President Tsai visited Paraguay, the official title in the background was "Republic of China." So, it is justified when our diplomatic allies use our official title.”
The university's statement was revised on Aug. 10 in Taiwan the time with "China-Taiwan" being changed to "ROC" in Spanish with "Taiwan" in parentheses. Medigen says it was a typo on the part of the person at the university who typed the statement and it requested the change. The ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, said "China-Taiwan" is an abbreviation of Taiwan's official title.
Joanne Ou, Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs:” The National University of Asuncion abbreviated our country's official name to "China-Taiwan" in a press release. However, it was not their intention to downgrade us. Many of our diplomatic allies, when they use "China", they are referring to the Republic of China or Taiwan. So, sometimes it gets abbreviated like that.”
Su Tseng-chang, Premier, ROC:” There are very few countries in the world that can make their own vaccines. Taiwan is one of them, and we have two pharmaceuticals that can. Vaccines are used on humans. The government's top priority is safety and will strictly protect public health.”
This was not the first time Paraguay or a Paraguayan institution referred to Taiwan as "China-Taiwan." During President Tsai Ing-wen's state visit to Paraguay in 2018, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez referred to her as "the president of China-Taiwan" in a tweet that was later deleted. The ministry says it has brought this issue up with its embassies and representative offices but it was not Paraguay's intention to oppress Taiwan or its status