Taiwan urges US Secretary of Health on COVID vaccines
Taiwan’s health minister said on Friday he had spoken to his US counterpart asking for help getting COVID-19 vaccines amid a peak in infections on the island and that the US Secretary of Health would take the matter to President Joe Biden.
Having been touted for months as an example of how to stop the virus in its tracks, Taiwan has reported an increasing number of infections in the community over the past two weeks, with some 1,800 cases.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the situation remained at its peak but that no “sudden situation” had occurred as authorities were able to track the sources of most infections.
Taiwan’s battle with the virus has been complicated by a lack of vaccines, with only around 700,000 arriving so far, of which 410,000 this week, all vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L).
Chen said he spoke with Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra during a video conference on medical cooperation, the highest-level contact between the two governments since the inauguration of Biden in January.
âMost importantly, we have reported that the Taiwan pandemic is on the rise, and at this point, we urgently need vaccines, and hope he can support Taiwan with regards to vaccines that the United States is going to. publish, âChen said.
In response, Chen said Becerra said Taiwan’s needs would be taken into account and that he would take the matter to the president.
A statement from the HHS Global Affairs Office on Twitter said the United States supports Taiwan’s ability to access vaccines, its contributions to health security, and its return as an observer to the decision-making body of the United States. ‘World Health Organization, the World Health Assembly, which China has blocked.
Biden said this week he would send at least 20 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine overseas by the end of June, marking the first time the United States has shared vaccines licensed for home use. Read more
The United States, like most countries, does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, claimed by China, and Beijing routinely condemns any high-level contact between Washington and Taipei.
China reacted with fury when Alex Azar, the Trump administration’s health secretary, came to Taipei in August, sending fighter jets near the island.
Taiwan’s current spike in domestic COVID-19 infections has not accelerated quickly, with the island reporting 312 new cases on Friday, a slight increase from the 286 reported on Thursday.
Chen said this weekend will be essential in bringing the pandemic under control and called on people to stay in their homes as much as possible.
“If the flow of people can be reduced to a minimum during these two days, the chain of transmission will be gradually cut off, which will be very useful,” he said.
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