Foxconn, TSMC buy 10M COVID-19 shots for Taiwan

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Apple partners TSMC and Foxconn are helping Taiwan secure COVID-19 vaccines, by buying a total of 10 million doses to be distributed by the territory's government.

Chip foundry TSMC and assembly partner Foxconn will each acquire up to 5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Taiwan Overseas Community Affairs Council said on Monday. The purchases will be donated to the government, and will be used to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The agreement is said to be worth $350 million, or approximately $35 per dose of the vaccine, reports BBC News. The government agreed to the plan from Foxconn and TSMC in late June, but only confirmed the agreement after statements were issued by both companies.

The purchase is a crucial one for Taiwan, which is badly affected by the virus. In June, only 3% of the country's 23.5 million people had been vaccinated, with most only taking the first of two shots.

Taiwan allegedly had trouble securing its own vaccine supplies, with claims of interference from China in purchasing shots. Taiwan also rejected an offer of vaccines from China, but safety concerns and Taiwanese law stopped the Chinese donation.

Other countries have also donated vaccines to Taiwan, including the United States and Japan.

The vaccination purchases by TSMC and Foxconn are not entirely altruistic, as both have major operations working in the territory. In June, concerns were raised that an outbreak shutting down production sites would hurt chip supplies, including parts of Apple's supply chain.

The quest for vaccines isn't limited to just Taiwan. The government of Vietnam asked Samsung and other Apple suppliers to secure vaccines for workers at their factories in late May, with employees at facilities sleeping on factory floors in June to minimize any downtime and further outbreaks.

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