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The US sent 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan - more than triple it initially pledged - as it deals with an unexpected outbreak

Jun 20, 2021, 20:23 IST
Business Insider
In this photo released by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, third from left, and Brent Christensen, the top U.S. official in Taiwan, fourth from left, hold up thank you cards as they welcome a China Airlines cargo plane carrying COVID-19 vaccines from Memphis.Taiwan Centers for Disease Control via AP
  • The US on Sunday sent Taiwan 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the AP reported.
  • Previously, the US said it would send 750,000 vaccine doses to the island.
  • Taiwan has been dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 since May.

The US sent 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan this weekend, more than triple the country promised to deliver earlier this month as it deals with an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

As the Associated Press reported Sunday, Taiwan had been relatively successful in staving off COVID-19 until May. Prior to May, just about a dozen people had died from the virus in Taiwan, but the death toll now sits at 538, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University.

The current outbreak has begun to subside as the outbreak forced an increase in mitigation measures, like testing and vaccinations, according to the AP report.

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Reuters was first to report the shipment.

The vaccines was sent from Memphis on Saturday and arrived in Taiwan via a China Airlines cargo plane on Sunday, according to the report. Japan previously shipped the country 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the AP reported.

Sens. Tammy Duckworth, Chris Coons, and Dan Sullivan visited Taiwan earlier in June and pledged US support. The US said it would send 750,000 vaccines to Taiwan.

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"This is about standing up with friends when they are in need," Duckworth said, according to Nikkei Asia.

The vaccine shipment also signals US support for Taiwan amid its continued tensions with China, which views Taiwan as its territory, the AP noted.

"When I saw these vaccines coming down the plane, I was really touched," said Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.

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