The United States provides 1.5 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan

Walmart Pharmacies Have a Vial of the Modern Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Vaccine at a Walmart Department Store in West Haven, Connecticut, USA, February 17, 2021. REUTERS / Mike Segar / File Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (Reuters) – The United States supplies another 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, a senior U.S. government official told Reuters, increasing to 4 million the total number of shots donated by Washington to the autonomous island, which is under increasing pressure from China.

The new delivery of Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) doses will depart from Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday aboard a plane belonging to Taiwan’s China Airlines, the official said.

“Our vaccines do not come with strict ties” and were not donated to “secure services or extract concessions,” the Biden administration official said in an apparent reference to criticism that Beijing is trying to strengthen its geopolitical influence through so-called vaccine diplomacy.

The official added that Taiwan was an “important partner” in global health issues.

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, thanked the United States and said the donation showed US support for Taiwan was “rock solid”.

“Based 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 late Sunday.

The United States gave 2.5 million doses to the island, as China claimed in June, making it one of the first international recipients of American vaccines. Read more

At the time, U.S. officials said China was trying to block vaccine purchases from Taiwan for political reasons, which Beijing rejected.

Japan, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania have also donated COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, where about 70% of the population has received at least one dose, according to Taiwanese media. Only about 30% of the country’s 24 million people have been fully vaccinated.

Under pressure to share its coronavirus vaccine supply with the rest of the world, the United States has donated 200 million doses to more than 100 countries, the White House said earlier in October. Read more

Taiwan, a key hub in the strained global technology supply chain, grew at its slowest pace since the second quarter of 2020 in the period July-September, when coronavirus brakes to limit a local outbreak hit consumption. Read more

The United States, which, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, has alarmed its rising tensions with Beijing. President Joe Biden’s administration has promised to strengthen ties with the island, which under U.S. law obliges Washington to provide itself with defense equipment.

Reporting by Michael Martina; further reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing Sonya Hepinstall and Diane Craft

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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