The Chinese government said on Friday that it welcomed Taiwanese to come and be vaccinated against COVID-1
China claims to democratically rule Taiwan as its own territory and has repeatedly offered to send vaccines to the island struggling with an increase in domestic infections, but has expressed concern over the safety of Chinese shots and has not cleared them for use.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement that two Chinese-made vaccines had been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization and its shots were in use or approved by more than 90 countries, showing their safety and effectiveness.
Taiwanese people may come to China to be vaccinated against COVID-19, provided they strictly comply with China’s pandemic control measures, the office said.
It called on the Taiwanese government to “quickly remove artificial barriers to mainland vaccines sent to Taiwan and allow the broad masses of Taiwanese compatriots to receive the safe and highly effective mainland vaccines”.
About 62,000 Taiwanese had been vaccinated in China on May 31, it added, although many Taiwanese already live and work there.
Only 3% of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one shot, even though millions of doses are on order. Japan donated 1.24 million AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) shots last week, and the United States has promised 750,000 doses that have not yet arrived.
Still, China’s offerings are unlikely to be attractive to many Taiwanese. A poll by Taipei National Chengchi University last month showed that most people would not be willing to get a Chinese vaccine.
A security official in Taiwan investigating Chinese activities told Reuters that the offer was another example of a Beijing influence campaign to sway public opinion on the island.
“This may be attractive to some people, but the problem is not that many people can afford the cost,” the official said, pointing to the quarantine expenses and weeks needed to travel between Taiwan and China.
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.