Japan to supply Taiwan 1.24 million Covid-19 vaccine doses

Tokyo, Jun 4 (EFE).- Japan will supply 1.24 million Covid-19 vaccines doses to Taiwan, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi announced Friday, at a time Taipei is finding trouble stocking up.

The doses, which Tokyo will send for free, are part of the Japanese supplies of the vaccine developed by British pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, but manufactured in the country, and that Japan does not plan to use in its vaccination campaign. It is instead using the injections from American companies Pfizer and Moderna.

The cargo will arrive Friday in Taipei, Motegi told a news conference, adding that “the supply is based on our important partnership and friendship with Taiwan.”

He said the decision had been adopted after a request from the island territory, which has been dealing with a considerable increase in covid cases since May and is having problems obtaining vaccines due to its friction with China.

Taiwanese authorities have accused China of blocking negotiations for the purchase of vaccines due to geopolitical disagreements. Taipei has been a de facto independent territory since the end of the Japanese occupation of the island in 1949, but Beijing claims its sovereignty.

China has criticized the Japanese offer, which it has branded a political tool, and has pointed to its attempts to supply Taiwan with its Sinovac vaccine and that the territory has “blocked.”

Taiwan was, until the outbreak of last month, one of the territories that had best managed the pandemic worldwide, in large part thanks to the fact that it imposed restrictions on the arrival of citizens from abroad shortly after the first Covid-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China.

The island has requested 20 million vaccines from suppliers such as Moderna or AstraZeneca and on Sunday announced agreements with two local companies, Medigen and United Biomedical, to obtain another 10 million vials of their antigens. They’re still under development and will request authorization for them in June.

So far it has only received about 700,000 of the 20 million vaccines requested and has been able to vaccinate 1 percent of its population.

China has offered to provide the island with the necessary doses of its own injection to immunize its 24 million inhabitants, but the Taiwanese government has refused. EFE


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