U.S. sends 2.5M Moderna vaccine dose shipment to Taiwan

The vaccine shots, which will arrive on Sunday evening, are more than three times the amount Washington had previously allocated to Taiwan. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — A senior administration official told Reuters that the United States will ship 2.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (MRNA.O) to Taiwan on Saturday.

The vaccine shots, which will arrive in Taipei on Sunday evening, are more than three times the amount Washington had previously allocated to Taiwan.

Washington, which is vying with Beijing for increased geopolitical influence through so-called “vaccine diplomacy,” initially promised to donate 750,000 doses.

That number is growing amid reports that the Biden administration’s commitment will send 80 million U.S.-made injections around the world.

An agreement for Taiwan to buy vaccines from Germany’s BioNTech SE failed this year, with the Taiwanese government blaming pressure from Beijing.

China has denied the allegation, saying that Taiwan is free to purchase the vaccine through Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, which has a contract to sell BioNTech’s vaccines in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

The U.S. shipment comes as Washington is working with Taipei to create a secure supply chain for strategic items such as computer chips, of which Taiwan is a key producer, vital to the country’s economy.

It also comes after Taiwan announced on Friday that it would allow Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Taiwan’s Foxconn and semiconductor giant TSMC, to negotiate a COVID-19 vaccine on their behalf.