Washington has shipped 2.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Taipei, US State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted on Saturday. The Moderna photos are expected to arrive Sunday evening local Taiwan time, according to the island’s foreign ministry.
After a successful first attempt to reduce the number of cases, Taiwan is now battling its first major epidemic and struggling to tackle its low vaccination rate: only 6 doses have been administered per 100,000 people.
China, which considers Taiwan to be an integral part of its territory, has repeatedly offered to send coronavirus vaccines to the island. Taipei has raised concerns about the safety of Chinese injections and accused Beijing of blocking efforts to buy vaccines internationally.
On June 6, the United States pledged to donate 750,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, which Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen called “timely rain” for the island of about 24 millions of inhabitants.
State nationalist tabloid Global Times said the move “paved the way for the United States and Taiwan to further escalate their collusion.”
Taiwan was previously touted as one of the global success stories in controlling Covid-19, but has now reported nearly 14,000 cases and 538 deaths, according to the island’s Centers for Disease Control.
Following Saturday’s announcement, President Tsai expressed her gratitude to the Biden administration and the bipartisan support of the US Congress on its social media platforms.
Earlier this month, Biden announced that the United States is planning to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine globally as part of its efforts to reaffirm U.S. leadership on the world stage.