TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Czech Republic is considering a vaccine donation to Taiwan as the East Asian country continues its struggle to vaccinate its population amid a dose shortage, with a decision expected early next week.
On Thursday (July 22), Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil, who led a delegation to Taiwan last August, wrote on Twitter that he had spoken about "vaccines from CZ to TW" with the minister of health and is cautiously optimistic about the outcome of the government's deliberation on the matter next Monday (July 26).
In response to this news, MOFA issued a statement Friday (July 23) noting that Vystrcil, Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, and Pavel Fischer, chairman of the Czech Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, had expressed their views on Taiwan's epidemic situation and the country's efforts to procure vaccines. Thanking the Czech government, the ministry appealed to it to approve the donation, adding that it will "wait patiently for the results of the discussions."
The update on the possible delivery comes after Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in mid-June cited Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib as telling him that he had raised the prospect of such a donation to Taiwan with the Czech government.
The two mayors inked a sister city deal in Prague in January 2020, three months after the Czech capital ditched its sister-city ties with Beijing. Hrib visited Taipei that summer as a member of Vystrcil's delegation, along with more than 80 other Czech politicians, experts, and journalists, despite China's protestations, to explore opportunities for collaboration and show solidarity between the two democracies.
As Taiwan seeks to secure sufficient numbers of doses and rein in its local outbreak, other countries have stepped in to lend a hand. Czechia's neighbor Slovakia last week pledged 10,000 vaccine doses as thanks for the hundreds of thousands of masks Taiwan sent the Central European nation early in the pandemic. The announcement followed a similar one by Lithuania, with the Baltic state promising 20,000 doses.
The U.S. and Japan have each gifted Taiwan over 2 million shots over the past two months.