Taiwan thanked the United States for providing it with 2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, more than doubling the amount of vaccine in response to the rising number of infections.
Washington initially pledged to donate 750,000 doses of the vaccine, but the Biden administration’s pledge to send 80 million doses of the U.S.-made vaccine worldwide has seen the amount of vaccine aid Taiwan has received jump to 2.5 million doses.
“What a sight! What a great gesture!”
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu Chiu-sup tweeted Saturday evening (June 19), thanking President Biden and the U.S. State Department, and attaching a photo of the vaccine being loaded onto a China Airlines Boeing 777 cargo plane at Memphis Airport.
The Taiwan-U.S. relationship is rock-solid,” Wu wrote on the official Twitter account of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will continue to work closely together to fight COVID-19. The forces of good will prevail!”
Before that, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote in his tweet, “Our donation of 2.5 million doses of vaccine is on its way to Taiwan. The Taiwan-US health partnership has helped save lives here and around the world.”
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said via Twitter that she was touched by the U.S. donation of vaccines for Taiwan. She said, “Thank you to the United States for this touching gesture of friendship. These vaccines will go a long way toward keeping Taiwan safe and healthy.”
The United States, like most countries, does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. But the United States has always been Taiwan’s most important international supporter.
The U.S. vaccine donation will arrive in Taiwan late Sunday afternoon. The 2.5 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. will be more than twice the amount of vaccine Taiwan has received so far. This follows Japan’s donation of 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan in early June.
China has also provided Taiwan with its own manufactured COVID-19 vaccine, but the Taipei government has repeatedly expressed concerns about its safety and efficacy.
Taiwan has accused China of blocking at least one deal for Taiwan to receive a foreign vaccine. Beijing denies this.
Despite the global pandemic, China has not relaxed its military pressure on Taiwan. Last week, 28 Chinese Air Force military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, including fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers. This is the largest military aircraft incursion to date.
Taiwan is trying to speed up the arrival of millions of doses of vaccine it has ordered in response to the increase in cases, although infection rates remain relatively low.
Only about 6 percent of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have been vaccinated at least once in a two-dose vaccination program.
President Tsai Ing-wen is under pressure to speed up access to the vaccine. On Friday, the Taipei government said it would allow Kuo Tai-ming, the creator of Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple, and TSMC, Taiwan’s largest chipmaker, to negotiate for the vaccine on behalf of Taipei.