Malaysia to receive 1 million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from Japan


FILE PHOTO: Empty vials of Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters): Japan said on Friday it would send two million additional doses of AstraZeneca Plc's Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan and Vietnam and arrangements were being made to send one million doses each to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The direct donations, which should help Japan to increase its diplomatic influence in Asia, come as wealthy nations are being pushed to provide more doses to the global vaccine sharing scheme Covax to cover a 200-million dose shortfall.

While densely populated lower-income countries act as incubators for new and more dangerous strains of the coronavirus, some of the poorest countries have vaccinated fewer than 1% of their populations, according to estimates from Gavi, a global vaccine alliance that runs Covax with the World Health Organization.

Japan has pledged USD$1bil (RM4.16bil) and 30 million doses to the Covax facility and said this month its direct shipments to Asian neighbours are being made outside of Covax to speed up delivery.

Japan donated 1.24 million doses to Taiwan and 1 million to Vietnam this month and plans to share an additional 1 million doses each with the two.

A Taipei-based official familiar with Japan's two vaccine donations said while the Japanese government has been subtle in its offers, mainly focusing on Taiwan's urgent medical need, there was a broader message.

The donations are actually an important move to echo the US campaign of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to counter China's geopolitical clout in the region, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Taiwan has accused China of blocking its access to foreign vaccines, which Beijing denies. The island, which China claims as its own territory, also received 2.5 million vaccine doses from the United States this month.

Japan is drawing on 120 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine it has reserved, as it has no immediate plans to use the shots at home amid lingering concern over international reports of blood clots.

Its foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, said on Friday that Japan would start to supply 11 million doses in total to regions including Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia and the Pacific islands through the Covax from mid-July. - Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

N.Korea wants sanctions eased to restart talks with U.S. - S.Korea lawmakers
Sydney COVID lockdown could be eased if vaccination rate hits 50%
Israel's top court delays decision on Sheikh Jarrah evictions
Blinken says Belarus treatment of athlete intolerable 'transnational repression'
Japan will only hospitalise most serious COVID-19 cases as infections surge
Japan government starts to "name and shame" quarantine rule-breakers
Nearly 5 million fewer girls to be born worldwide over next 10 years, according to study
Iran warns of response if security threatened after ship attack
A year after taboo on Thai king broken, 103 face jail for royal insult
Brazil electoral court to probe Bolsonaro for attacks on voting system

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers