Covid19 – US to donate 750,000 vaccine doses to Taiwan
The United States will donate 750,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan as part of the country’s plan to share shots globally, US Senator Tammy Duckworth said on Sunday, offering a much-needed boost to the island’s fight against the pandemic.
Taiwan is dealing with a spike in domestic cases but has been affected like many places by global vaccines shortages. Only around 3% of its 23.5 million people have been vaccinated, with most getting only the first shot of two needed.
Taiwan, like much of the world, has been trying to speed up its vaccination programme following a spike in domestic cases, but has been stymied by global supply shortages. Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it has been in talks with Taiwan about providing its COVID-19 vaccine to the island since last year.
While cases have been concentrated in Taipei and its neighbouring city, health authorities are trying to stop an outbreak at two chip packagers in Miaoli, in the north of the island, King Yuan Electronics and Greatek Electronics. While case numbers in Taiwan’s main chip hub of Hsinchu have remained low, the government, working with the military, has set up testing sites there to ensure they can identify any rapid increase.
China has offered Taiwan Chinese-made vaccines, but the government has repeatedly expressed concern about their safety, and in any case cannot import them without changing Taiwanese law which bans their import.
Japan delivered to Taiwan 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca PLC’s coronavirus vaccine on Friday for free, in a gesture that more than doubled the amount of shots the island has received to date.