CORONAVIRUS/Poland's donation of 400,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses en route to Taiwan
Taipei, Sept. 4 (CNA) A flight carrying 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine pledged by Poland has departed for Taiwan, the latter's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed Saturday evening, shortly after the Polish government announced the vaccine donation.
"As a gesture of solidarity in the face of vaccine shortages and risks posed by new coronavirus variants, Poland will hand over 400,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Taiwan," Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement.
The vaccine will make Poland Taiwan's third-largest vaccine donor, after the United States and Japan, the statement said, adding that the donation is "yet another recent example of Poland-Taiwan close cooperation in the face of difficult challenges."
According to Poland, Taiwan donated one million face masks, 5,000 protective suits, and 20,000 surgical gowns to the country last year after the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world.
In a press statement issued Saturday evening, MOFA thanked the Polish government for its generosity and said it looks forward to pushing for more exchanges with the European nation in various fields.
MOFA added that the vaccine doses sent by Poland are "on their way" to Taiwan, but it did not reveal when the shipment would arrive.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese media reports said that the vaccine doses are scheduled to arrive at Taoyuan International Airport at around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, citing airport personnel.
According to the reports, the two countries had been in talks regarding a possible vaccine donation to Taiwan since May, but the plan had not been finalized until two weeks ago.
At a regular press briefing Saturday afternoon, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) confirmed Poland's vaccine donation but declined to provide any details such as its arrival date.
The Presidential Office also thanked Poland for the donation in a separate press statement. Poland is the fourth European Union member state to have pledged vaccine donations to Taiwan, following Lithuania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said.
Taiwan and Poland have provided medical equipment to each other during the global pandemic, Chang said, adding that the vaccine donation once again demonstrated mutual support between democratic countries.
To date, Taiwan has taken delivery of approximately 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 5.89 million doses of which came from other countries as donations.
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