The 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca New Crown vaccine donated by Japan to Taiwan arrived in Taiwan on Friday (June 4). Taiwan is currently struggling to obtain the vaccine due to the resurgence of the new crown outbreak.
The Taiwan Central Epidemic Command Center said in a press release that the vaccine donated by Japan will be delivered directly to a designated cold storage and logistics center for subsequent inspection and sealing after the completion of customs clearance procedures, after which the vaccine will be administered to those listed in the New Crown vaccination program.
The Command Center also said that, at a time when the epidemic is difficult and the global supply of vaccines exceeds the demand, this shipment of New Crown vaccine from Japan is of great help to Taiwan in the fight against the epidemic. The Command Center also expressed its sincere gratitude and admiration to the Japanese government and people.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her gratitude to Japan for the donation. She wrote on Facebook, “I would like to thank all the official and private people of Taiwan and Japan who have been running around, this is another testimony to the true meaning of Taiwan-Japan friendship based on shared values and mutual support.”
According to the Associated Press, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshichika Mogi told reporters Friday that Japan was responding to Taiwan’s request and that the donation reflected “the important partnership and friendship between Japan and Taiwan.”
In addition to Japan, the U.S. has also reached out to Taiwan, which is struggling to fight the epidemic. The Biden administration announced Thursday that the U.S. will share 80 million doses of the New Crown vaccine with the world by the end of June, with about 7 million of those doses to be shared through COVAX with Asian countries and entities, including Taiwan, Vietnam and India.
Tsai also expressed her gratitude for this. She wrote, “I would like to thank the U.S. government for its timely outreach and the surely hardworking diplomatic team that worked night and day to seize the opportunity to secure the vaccine.”
She added, “The next phase will be to move into mass vaccination. The appointment platform is almost complete, and counties and cities are also cooperating with the central arrangement to set up vaccination stations. There is a certain order of vaccine administration, and we also ask everyone to wait quietly after registration, and when it’s your turn, go get it.”
Taiwan has previously been seen as a model for epidemic prevention, but the recent high number of confirmed and fatal cases of its new crown, coupled with Taiwan’s extremely low vaccination rate, highlights the importance and urgency of vaccination. However, the speed and dosage of vaccine procurement in Taiwan seems to be far from keeping up with the demand.
Chinese authorities recently offered to provide vaccines and medical personnel to Taiwan, but the offer was immediately rejected by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, which is concerned about the safety risks of Chinese-produced vaccines. Taiwan also slammed Beijing last week for politically interfering with Taiwan’s vaccine deal with a German manufacturer, leading to a broken contract.
In response to Taiwan’s rejection of the Chinese-made vaccine, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “We have repeatedly expressed our willingness to do our best to help our compatriots in Taiwan cope with the epidemic, but the DPP authorities, acting from political self-interest, have turned a blind eye to the goodwill of the mainland and even maliciously slandered and discredited it, blocking the import of the mainland vaccine to Taiwan in every way. This is a disregard and trampling on the lives and health of our compatriots in Taiwan.”