A Senior US administration source told Reuters that the US is transferring an extra 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, bringing the total number of injections supplied by Washington to 4 million. The self-ruled island is under increasing pressure from China.
According to the official, the new delivery of Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) dosages will travel from Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday aboard an aircraft operated by Taiwan’s China Airlines.
“Our vaccines do not come with strings attached” and were not donated to “secure favors or extract concessions,” the Biden administration official said, in an apparent reference to criticism that Beijing is trying to strengthen its geopolitical clout through so-called vaccine diplomacy. The official added that Taiwan was a “vital partner” on global health issues.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the United States and said the donation showed that the U.S. support for Taiwan was “rock-solid.” “Based on the solid foundation of this friendship, Taiwan will continue to deepen partnership with the United States on all fronts,” she said in a Facebook jobs post late on Sunday
In June, the United States delivered 2.5 million vaccine doses to the Chinese-claimed island, making it one of the first overseas recipients of U.S. immunizations. At the time, US officials claimed that China was attempting to hinder Taiwanese vaccine sales for political reasons, which Beijing rejected.
According to Taiwan media, Japan, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Lithuania have also provided COVID-19 vaccinations jobs to Taiwan, where over 70% of the population has gotten at least one dosage. Only approximately 30 percent of the country’s 24 million individuals have received all of their vaccinations.
Under pressure to share its coronavirus vaccine supply with the rest of the globe, the United States provided 200 million doses to more than 100 countries earlier this month, according to the White House. In the July-September period, Taiwan, a crucial hub in the strained global technology supply chain, grew slowly since the second quarter of 2020, as coronavirus measures to limit a local outbreak impacted consumption.
The United States, which, like most countries, has no official diplomatic connections with Taiwan, has been alarmed by the country’s escalating tensions with Beijing. President Joe Biden’s administration has pledged to strengthen ties with the island, which Washington is bound by law to support with defense equipment.