Sat, 24 Jul 2021

Taiwan thanks U.S. 'friend" for 2.5 million Covid vaccines

Robert Besser
22 Jun 2021, 14:27 GMT+10

TAIPEI, Taiwan: Taiwan received 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the United States on Sunday, more than doubling the nation's stock of Covid vaccinations, as it deals with a cluster of domestic infections.

The United States had earlier pledged to send 750,000 doses to Taiwan, but increased that number as the Biden administration developed plans to send 80 million U.S.-made shots around the world.

Speaking after the arrival of the American Moderna vaccinations, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her "sincere gratitude".

"A friend in need is a friend indeed," she added in English.

Rather than an embassy, the United States is represented in Taiwan by the American Institute in Taiwan, which released a statement saying the donated vaccinations reflected the U.S. commitment to Taiwan "as a trusted friend and an important security partner".

Taiwanese politicians from varying political parties also thanked the United States, including the main opposition party, the Kuomintang, which has been highly critical of Tsai for what it says is the slow pace of purchasing vaccines.

America's 2.5 million doses will more than double the number of vaccines that have come to Taiwan, including 1.24 million AstraZeneca shots donated by Japan.

China, which claims Taiwan's territory as part of its country, has offered vaccines, but the government in Taipei has expressed doubts about the Chinese vaccine's safety and efficacy.

Taiwan is also trying to speed the delivery of millions of vaccines it has on order.

Only some 6 percent of Taiwan's 23.5 million people have received at least one of the two-shot coronavirus vaccine regimen.

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