Japan to ship millions of additional COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan and its Asian neighbors this week
TOKYO, July 6 (Reuters) – Japan announced on Tuesday that it will send millions more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) to its Asian neighbors this week as part of bilateral donations.
Japan will send an additional 1.13 million doses to Taiwan on Thursday, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters at a regular press conference, after previously delivering 1.24 million doses last month. Read more
A million additional doses each will be sent to Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam this week, following earlier donations to Indonesia and Malaysia, Motegi said.
“True friends always lend a hand when they need each other the most,” Taiwan Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang wrote on his Facebook page.
In more good news for Taiwan’s vaccination program, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters in Taipei that an additional 620,000 doses of AstraZeneca would arrive on Wednesday, as part of a direct order from the company’s government. .
About 10% of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one of the two-dose vaccines. President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday that officials hope to reach up to 25 percent by the end of the month.
Japan has arranged to purchase 120 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, with most of that supply being produced by domestic companies. Regulators approved the shot in May, but amid lingering concerns about blood clots, health officials have relied on mRNA-like vaccines made by Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) in as part of the inoculation campaign in Japan.
Japan has pledged $ 1 billion and 30 million doses to the global COVAX vaccine sharing program, but so far its donations have been outside that program. Read more
Doses of AstraZeneca produced in Japan have not yet been approved by the World Health Organization for use in COVAX, Motegi said, so the country has turned to bilateral agreements to address ” urgent requests for vaccine supplies “.
The first shipments from Japan via the COVAX facility are expected in the middle of this month, with some 11 million doses destined for countries in South Asia and the Pacific islands, Motegi said.
Reporting by Rocky Swift; Additional reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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