International

US ships an additional 2.5M vaccine doses to Taiwan

The United States is sending an additional 2.5 million Moderna coronavirus vaccine doses to Taiwan amid growing tensions between the island and China.

"Wheels up! Our donation of 2.5 million vaccine doses is on the way to Taiwan, whose health partnership with the U.S. helped save lives here and around the world," State Department spokesperson Ned Price tweeted on Saturday.

"@StateDept is proud to support @POTUS' commitment to help the world defeat COVID-19," he added.

The U.S. previously committed 750,000 doses to the island but increased the number after the U.S. committed to sending more doses around the world. 

The Moderna doses are being sent from Memphis, Tenn., and will arrive in Taiwan on Sunday, a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters. 

The official added that the delivery was set up quickly by experts who were able to mitigate regulatory issues.

"We are not allocating these doses, or delivering these doses, based on political or economic conditions. We are donating these vaccines with the singular objective of saving lives," the official said.

China has attempted to send Taiwan vaccine doses, but the island refused them, citing safety concerns, creating more tension in an already strained relationship. 

China and Taiwan have clashed recently, with China claiming Taiwan is part of its territory. China has condemned any actions by the U.S. it perceives as challenging that claim. 

China recently sent dozens of warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

Outbrain