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US donates vaccines to Taiwan

The United States will donate 750,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan as part of the country’s plan to share injections around the world, said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, offering a much-needed boost to the the island’s fight against the pandemic.

Taiwan is facing a peak in national cases but has been hit like many places by global vaccine shortages. Only about 3% of its 23.5 million people have been vaccinated, with most only receiving the first of every two vaccines needed.

Speaking at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei after arriving for a brief visit with fellow Senators Dan Sullivan and Christopher Coons, Duckworth said Taiwan would receive 750,000 doses as part of the first installment of US donations .

“It was essential for the United States that Taiwan be included in the first group to receive vaccines, as we recognize your urgent need and we appreciate this partnership,” she said at a press conference. She did not give details of which vaccines Taiwan would receive or when.

The senators, who arrived aboard a US Air Force freighter, will also meet with President Tsai Ing-wen to discuss security and other issues.

Taiwan has complained about China, which claims the democratically ruled island as its own, trying to block the island from accessing vaccines internationally, which Beijing has denied.

Japan delivered 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca PLC’s coronavirus vaccine to Taiwan free of charge on Friday, a move that has more than doubled the number of vaccines the island has received to date.

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