The legislature's COVID-19 vaccine procurement data review task force convened last week. Legislators discussed what information needs to be made public and immediately started disagreeing.
Taiwan is in the midst of administering COVID-19 vaccines. Legislators point out that the number of vaccines donated to Taiwan surpasses the number procured by the government that has been delivered. The legislature's COVID-19 vaccine procurement data review task force asked the central government to make procurement contracts and its decision-making processes public. In response, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said the contracts are confidential. As vaccines and medication will be arriving in the future, the contracts can't be made public.
Chen Yu-jen, Legislator (KMT)："The law does not give you all the right to refuse to provide this information. I am asking the Ministry of Health and Welfare to explain which law it is citing as the basis for refusing to provide this information."
Chen Shih-chung, Health and Welfare Minister："Right now, there is the issue of vaccines. In the future, there will be the issue of medication. We need to continue maintaining a close relationship with the pharmaceuticals and establish mutual trust."
Some legislators said the government's talks to procure BNT-Pfizer vaccines directly from the manufacturers and from agent TTY Biopharm collapsed, but the information should at least be made public. Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Su Chiao-hui claimed it wasn't that the government wasn't able to procure sufficient vaccines, but rather that the number that was delivered was lower than expected.
Su Chiao-hui, Legislator (DPP)："It is a fact that the number of donated vaccines exceeds the number of ordered vaccines that arrived. Thank you legislator, you actually stated a fact. However, it's not a fact that the number of donated vaccines exceeds the number of procured vaccines."
Legislators argued over what information should be made public. As they were arguing, Kuomintang Legislator Chen Yu-jen suddenly insinuated Su was trying to cover for her father, Premier Su Tseng-chang, as well as Chen Shih-chung, resulting in another altercation.
Finally, the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee passed a resolution to redact personal information from vaccine procurement contracts and make them available to the task force at a closed meeting. However, the contracts won't include the one with Moderna. Other arrangements will be made to examine the procurement and EUA process of domestic manufacturers Medigen and UBI Pharma and the Ministry of Health and Welfare will give a report.