Japan donates Vietnam 1 million vaccines, prepares more Asia shipments

Tokyo, Jun 15 (EFE).- Japan announced Tuesday a donation of 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam, to ensure equal access to vaccination in the Asian region.

“Japan is working globally to ensure fair access to the vaccine,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told media at a press conference.

The minister said the shipment of 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in the archipelago will be flown Wednesday to Vietnam, adding that it is a “free donation.”

“Japan has received requests from several countries and we are making an effort to finance and distribute the vaccine,” Motegui said, adding that “as with Taiwan, we have taken into account the status of infections and the delay in Vietnam’s vaccinations for the donations.”

The 1 million doses to Vietnam come in addition to Japan’s recent shipment of 1.24 million doses of the same vaccine to Taiwan.

Motegi said they plan new shipments to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand in early July and that additional shipments to Taiwan and Vietnam are being considered.

Taiwan suffered a significant increase in Covid-19 cases in May and is having trouble sourcing vaccines due to friction with China. Vietnam, despite having had an initial response qualified as a model to contain the pandemic, has been registering a rebound in cases.

Regarding cooperation and the distribution of vaccines to other regions of the world, Motegi stated that “it will be taken into account due to the expansion of the variants in different parts of the world and the delay in the distribution of vaccines.”

For now, the country said it is prioritizing donations to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Indo-Pacific region.

“In addition to bilateral cooperation and the shipment of vaccines manufactured in the archipelago, Japan also plans to distribute vaccines through COVAX,” the minister said.

Japan hosted the last summit of the initiative at the beginning of June to seek an equal distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, in which leaders of 40 countries pledged to provide additional funds to finance the distribution of 1.8 billion doses more to developing countries. EFE


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