WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will provide an additional 1.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan, a senior government official told Reuters, bringing the total number of shots donated by Washington to four million. The island is under increasing pressure from China.
Moderna’s official said the new deliveries follow preferred doses will depart from Louisville, Kentucky, on a China Airlines flight on Sunday.
“Our vaccines have no restrictions,” the Biden government official said, and were not donated to “secure services or extract concessions,” an apparent reference to criticism that Beijing is trying to bolster its geopolitical influence through so-called vaccine diplomacy. .
The official added that Taiwan is a “vital partner” on global health issues.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the United States and said the donation showed that US support for Taiwan was “strong”.
“Building on the solid foundation of this friendship, Taiwan will continue to deepen its partnership with the United States on all fronts,” she said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The United States gave 2.5 million doses to the island that China claimed in June, making it one of the first international recipients of American vaccines. Read more
At the time, US officials said China was trying to prevent Taiwan from buying the vaccine for political reasons, which Beijing denied.
Japan, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania have also donated COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, with about 70% of the population receiving at least one dose, according to Taiwan media. Only about 30% of the country’s population of 24 million is vaccinated.
The White House said earlier in October that the United States, under pressure to share supplies of coronavirus vaccines with the rest of the world, had donated 200 million doses to more than 100 countries. Read more
Taiwan, a key hub in a strained global technology supply chain, grew at the slowest pace since the second quarter of 2020 in the July-September period, as coronavirus restrictions to contain a local outbreak hit consumption. Read more
The United States, which does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan like most countries, has watched with concern the escalating tensions with Beijing. The administration of President Joe Biden has promised to strengthen relations with the island, which under US law must provide Washington with the means of defense.
(Additional reporting by Michael Martina.) Editing by Sonia Hipstel and Diane Kraft
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