TOKYO: Japan will provide Taiwan with 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for free, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Friday (Jun 4), just hours before the shipment was due to be delivered.
“We have received requests from various countries and areas for the provision of vaccines,” Motegi told reporters in Tokyo.
“At this point, we have finished the arrangement for the request from Taiwan. And we will deliver free of charge 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines that have been produced in Japan,” he added.
Motegi said the vaccine would be handled through the island’s embassy equivalent and would arrive in Taiwan later on Friday.
Taiwan is battling a spike in domestic infections and has vaccinated less than 3 per cent of its population. Japan has contracted to procure more than 300 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, more than enough to cover its entire population.
“The relationship between Taiwan and Japan has always been extremely close, and our friendship is firm and deep,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Whenever disasters or accidents occur, both sides immediately lend a helping hand to each other and send help in the hour of need.”
Japan approved AstraZeneca’s vaccine last month and has contracted to buy 120 million doses. But there are no immediate plans to use the shots, amid lingering concerns raised internationally over blood clots.
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