CORONAVIRUS/Slovakia-donated COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Taiwan
Taipei, Sept. 26 (CNA) The 160,000 doses of the AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID-19 vaccine from Slovakia arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, and will be used in a planned rollout as second vaccination doses for people who have already received a first shot.
In mid-July, the European Union announced that Slovakia had pledged to donate a total of 10,000 doses of vaccines to Taiwan.
However, on Friday, Slovakia's Ministry of Economy revealed that the nation was able to provide another 150,000 doses, thanks to concerted efforts within the Slovakian government.
Slovakian company Fibrochem also contributed a batch of surgical coveralls that arrived in the same shipment with the vaccines.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took to Facebook to give her thanks to Slovakia.
Tsai first expressed her gratitude for the immense support signified by the vaccine donations, and went on to say that Taiwan was touched by the friendship shown during this pandemic.
Taiwan will continue to show mutual support to the nation's allies and maintain the "cycle of kindness," she said.
Regarding the shots, Central Epidemic Command Center spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said on Saturday that alongside the 500,000 additional doses of AZ vaccines from Japan that arrived on Sept. 25, the Slovakia-donated dosages would be rolled out as second vaccination shots for those who had received a first jab.
The donations touched down in the Taoyuan international airport at 6:14 a.m. on Sunday via EVA Airways.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) Department of European Affairs deputy director-general Kendra Chen (陳詠韶) personally received the vaccines at the airport.
They were joined by Slovakia Representative to Taiwan Martin Podstavek and his deputy Michaela Šuláková.
Following disinfection protocols, the shots were later transported to a designated cold chain warehouse and sealed for inspection.
In a press release, MOFA explained that Slovakia had decided to increase their pledge to Taiwan as a show of friendship, and had previously stressed that Taiwan was a "very important friendly country."
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) also issued a press release to show gratitude to the Central European nation.
Chang said that the big increase in dosage from the nation's pledge greatly emphasized the precious friendship between Taiwan and Slovakia.
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