TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has thanked the Czech Republic for its pledge to donate vaccine doses, calling the move a sign of sincere friendship.
Czech Minister of Health Adam Vojtech announced Monday (July 26) that Prague would donate a total of 2.39 million doses to countries experiencing vaccine shortages in Africa, Asia, and the Balkans as part of the Team Europe Initiative. Of these, 30,000 will end up in Taiwan and 250,000 in Vietnam, which is currently experiencing an explosion in coronavirus cases.
EU member states plan to give away at least 100 million total doses to low and middle-income nations by the end of the year, mainly through the COVAX vaccine distribution program.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) praised the Czech government and people Tuesday morning (July 27), saying the donation demonstrates "sincere friendship and warm care" for Taiwan and that the Taiwanese are "deeply moved." The ministry stated that the donations come at a "critical moment" of the pandemic as new strains of the virus bring about a host of epidemic prevention issues.
The ministry thanked its Czech counterpart as well as the Czech health department, Senate President Milos Vystrcil, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Pavel Fischer, and Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib. A vocal supporter of Taiwan, Vystrcil said last Thursday (July 22) that he had spoken with Health Minister Vojtech on the phone and was cautiously optimistic about the proposed gift of jabs.
MOFA pointed to examples of pandemic-era collaboration with Prague, including an epidemic prevention collaboration agreement inked in April of last year to facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation on research and the manufacture of testing kits, medication, and vaccines. MOFA further noted that Taiwan has gifted Czechia with over 1 million medical masks and other epidemic prevention items, while the Central European country introduced a resolution at this year's World Health Assembly calling for Taiwan's participation.
As of Saturday (July 24), 4.57 million, or about 43%, of the Czech population had been fully vaccinated, while only about 1% of Taiwanese had completed the two-dose regimen. The Czech Republic is the third European country to offer vaccines to Taiwan following neighboring Slovakia's promise of 10,000 doses and Lithuania's pledge of 20,000.