Tsai: "Thank you to the US for supporting Taiwan in our time of need. Your vaccine donation will go a long way toward the health of the Taiwanese people, & serves as yet another symbol of our strong bilateral ties".
The United States will donate 750,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan as part of the country’s plan to share shots globally, 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. It has also claimed that China is hindering its attempts to secure doses internationally.
The donation was announced by US senator Tammy Duckworth on Sunday, speaking at Taipei’s downtown Songshan airport after arriving on a brief visit with fellow senators Dan Sullivan and Christopher Coons.
“It was critical to the United States that Taiwan be included in the first group to receive vaccines because we recognise your urgent need and we value this partnership,” she said at a news conference.
“We are here as friends, because we know that Taiwan is experiencing a challenging time right now, which was why it was especially important for the three of us to be here in a bipartisan way.”
She did not give details of which vaccines Taiwan would get or when, but said the US would ensure the people of Taiwan had what they needed. “I’m here to tell you that the United States will not let you stand alone,” she said.
Taiwan has complained about China, which claims the democratically ruled island as its own, trying to block the island from accessing vaccines internationally, which Beijing has denied.
Standing by Duckworth’s side, Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, thanked the US for the donation and strong message of support from the senators’ visit.
“While we are doing our best to import vaccines, we must overcome obstacles to ensure that these life-saving medicines are delivered free from trouble from Beijing,” he said.
Joe Biden announced last week the US will swiftly donate an initial allotment of 25m doses of surplus vaccine overseas through the UN-backed Covax program, which to date has shared just 76m doses with needy countries. Overall, the White House has announced plans to share 80m doses globally by the end of June.
The United States' pledge to donate 750,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan has sent a strong and clear message of its support for the country, and the government is grateful for that, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Sunday.