Taiwan receives another 1.1M doses of vaccine from Japan

PTI, Jul 8, 2021, 4:26 PM IST

Taipei: Taiwan on Thursday received 1.13 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Japan in the second such donation this year.

Once desperately lacking jabs, Taiwan has benefited from vaccine diplomacy, receiving near 5 million doses from the United States and Japan following its worst outbreak starting in May that was being driven by a more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

Taiwan has also accused China, which claims the self-ruled island as its renegade territory, of intervening to block the delivery of vaccines. China denies it as an attempt by the island”s government to shift responsibility for a recent surge.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung thanked Japan shortly before the vaccines arrived. “We are once again expressing our gratitude,” he said.

Taiwan had signed commitments to purchase more than 29 million doses of vaccines, but given global supply constraints and manufacturing delays, it was left with only about 700,000 doses when the number of cases rose sharply in May.

Taiwan”s allies, including the U.S. and Japan, have stepped in, enabling the island to start distributing the shots quickly. Now, 11.45% of the population have received at least one shot.

Under bilateral arrangements, Japan has donated 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine each to Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. Similar shipments are planned for Thailand and the Philippines later this month.

On Wednesday, Taiwan received a batch of 626,000 doses from AstraZeneca that it had purchased itself, the official Central News Agency reported.

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