Taiwan undergoes drastic change in attitude towards vaccines: BBC

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The BBC released a report on Thursday about Taiwan’s vaccine situation, focusing on how vaccines have gone from being viewed as unnecessary and unpopular in Taiwan to being scarce and sought after.

The BBC pointed out that vaccines have been the most intensely debated topic in Taiwan ever since the COVID-19 outbreak in May.

Whether it is news on the government buying vaccines, people donating vaccines to Taiwan, or updates on the priority list for vaccine distribution, BBC has noticed that a huge debate tends to follow.

The government has also been really transparent with any changes regarding the vaccine situation, it went on to say.

Going back to April this year, Taiwan has had few local cases, BBC pointed out and remarked that most Taiwanese people did not even want vaccines at the time.

Interest in the vaccines was low, and most people were not willing to take vaccines even though the government had started distributing them, the article said.

The government even suggested a vaccination holiday, but it did not receive much interest.

In the article, BBC mentioned a controversy involving the distribution of vaccines.

A legislator suggested that the Taiwan health minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) should be vaccinated first to motivate more people to accept vaccines. However, Chen said he does not want to cut in line before those who are more at risk.

Chen’s response then aroused further suspicion, and even though Chen and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) demonstrated going through the vaccination process, the BBC reported that many people believed that they used fake vaccines.

After one to two months, Taiwan’s attitude towards vaccines underwent a drastic change. Vaccines became a rare prize that everyone sought after.

BBC also reported various vaccine scandals across Taiwan where clinics illegally vaccinated people who were not on the priority list, which stirred up conflicts between the different political parties.

Kuomintang (KMT) chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) criticized the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the lack of vaccines in Taiwan. Chiang emphasized that this has resulted in unfair vaccine distributions.

According to the BBC article, a political commentator criticized the DPP for listing governmental officials in the second priority category for vaccination, even though they are not at high risk of infection.

As can be seen, the issue with vaccines is still largely relevant, and it is unclear when the “vaccine chaos” would end, BBC concluded.