CORONAVIRUS/U.S. expects COVID-19 vaccine delivery to Taiwan soon
Washington, June 17 (CNA) The 750,000 COVID-19 vaccines the United States pledged to donate to Taiwan are expected to be delivered soon, a senior State Department official said Thursday during a Senate hearing, but the official did not provide a firm date.
The United States is working closely with Taiwan regulators to make sure it has met all of the requirements of Taiwan's regulatory system, said Jonathan Fritz, deputy assistant secretary of state for China, Mongolia, and Taiwan Coordination.
"In very short order we do expect to have those vaccines on their way to Taiwan and hopefully into people's arms shortly thereafter," Fritz said when asked about the schedule for the 750,000 vaccines, part of the 7 million doses the U.S. pledged to donate to Asia on June 3.
Asked if Taiwan could take delivery of the vaccines within weeks, Fritz responded, "I would hope perhaps even sooner than that."
Commenting on plans for the U.S. to partner with Taiwan to manufacture and distribute vaccines, Fritz said, "there are talks underway to see how we can cooperate with Taiwan amongst many others to get the entire world vaccinated to end this pandemic."
It has been the U.S.' strategy to work together with its friends and partners to become an arsenal of vaccines, Fritz said.
Asked by Democratic Senator Ed Markey whether the U.S. will extend its commitment to Taiwan's self-defense by supplying more vaccines, given the effect of the recent outbreak on the operational readiness of Taiwan's armed forces, Fritz said all factors are being considered.
Taiwan's security needs and even concerns that its semiconductor industry could be affected by the spread of the virus were being considered, he said, and the 750,000 doses pledged will hopefully be only the first batch of vaccines to be given to Taiwan.
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