Poland to donate Covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan

Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Poland will donate a batch of coronavirus vaccines to Taipei, Taiwan's health minister and the Polish Foreign Ministry have said.

Chen Shih-chung, Taiwanese health and welfare minister, broke the news at a press conference on Saturday.

Taiwan's authorities have not confirmed the number of vaccines they are going to receive from Poland or their producer, but local media said Warsaw was to deliver 400,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines made by the Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca on Sunday.

The media reports were confirmed by the Polish Foreign Ministry later in the day.

"In a gesture of solidarity and in the face of shortage of vaccines and the threat posed by new variants of the coronavirus, Poland will donate 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to Taiwan," the ministry wrote in a statement.

The Foreign Ministry also recalled that "during the first wave of the pandemic, Taiwan donated a million face masks, 5,000 protective suits and 20,000 surgical aprons to Poland," calling it "an important gesture of solidarity."

Poland will be the sixth country that has offered to share its vaccines with Taiwan so far, alongside Japan, the United States, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. Slovakia has confirmed it is willing to get involved as well.

The Polish batch is likely to be the third biggest vaccine donation to Taipei. Japan has offered 3 million doses, the US - 2.5 milion, the Czech Republic - 30,000 and Lithuania - 20,000. Slovakia will donate 10,000 doses.

Taiwan, with a population of 24 million, has suffered from lack of coronavirus vaccines. Ten million inhabitants have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while only one million have been fully inoculated with both doses.

The donations have helped Taipai speed up their vaccination programme.