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Taiwan welcomes Japan’s offer of AZ jabs

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC) has expressed “deep gratitude and respect” to Japan for its offer of AstraZeneca vaccines as the island suffers its worst outbreak of COVID-19.

With a population of 23.6 million, Taiwan has recorded 7315 cases, including 78 deaths, most of which occurred this month.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi confirmed on Friday that Japan was “considering” supplying a portion of the AstraZeneca vaccine it has obtained to Taiwan and Pacific island countries.

Motegi recalled that Taiwan was one of the first to provide assistance to Japan after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

CECC chief Chen Shih-chung stated earlier on Friday that Taiwan would “welcome” the provision of AstraZeneca vaccines from Japan.

The CECC has reported that Taiwan will receive about 2 million vaccines from the global COVAX platform and other supply sources in June and 10 million by the end of August, including from domestic suppliers.

The first shipment of 150,000 doses of the US-made Moderna vaccine arrived at Taoyuan International Airport on Friday evening.

As of Thursday, nearly 334,000 people in Taiwan had been vaccinated with at least one jab, almost all of them AstraZeneca, according to the CECC.

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