Taiwan received US vaccine aid, strengthening its COVID fight: What you need to know
The United States is competing with China to deepen geopolitical influence through "Vaccine Diplomacy", initially had promised to donate 750,000 doses but increased that number to 80 million U.S.-made shots around the world.
The U.S. sent 2.5 million doses of Moderna's vaccine to Taiwan, reflecting part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to donate 80 million shots worldwide to stem the Covid-19 pandemic. While the U.S. has criticized China for what it says have been attempts to obstruct vaccine supplies to Taiwan, an administration official said the U.S. shipment came with no political strings attached.
China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, has offered Chinese-made vaccines, but the government in Taipei has repeatedly expressed concerns about their safety and efficacy.
Despite the pandemic, China has continued to pressure Taiwan militarily, seeking to assert its sovereignty. Last week, 28 Chinese air force aircrafts, including fighters and nuclear bombers, entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, the largest reported invasion to date. It is even suspected that China is planning for a war in the region.
Taiwan is trying to speed up the arrival of the millions of vaccines it has on order as it deals with a rise in domestic cases, although infections remain comparatively low and have stabilized. Only around 6% of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one of the two-shot coronavirus vaccine.