While the US has criticized China for what it says have been attempts to block vaccine supplies to Taiwan, an administration official said the US shipment came with no political strings attached.
Taiwan’s "health partnership with the U.S. helped save lives here and around the world,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter.
Taiwan is receiving Moderna shots on a plane that left Memphis on Saturday morning, according to two administration officials.
Taiwan has been a U.S. partner since the onset of the pandemic more than a year ago, providing protective personal equipment and other supplies.
The US previously announced plans to donate 750,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to help alleviate Taiwan’s shortage of shots.
The "huge increase” to 2.5 million shots shows the US is firmly supporting and "attaching great importance to Taiwan,” the island’s foreign ministry said in a statement late Saturday. The Taiwan-U.S. relationship is "rock solid,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in a post on Twitter.
A shortage in Taiwan also prompted Japan to send over some of its vaccine supply in early June amid concern that a health crisis on the island could hamper semiconductor production.
Taiwan’s government has resisted pressure both at home and by China to work with authorities in Beijing to obtain Covid-19 vaccines. - Bloomberg