With Taiwan’s de facto allies dwindling, the nation is certainly fighting to help the few they still maintain relations with. One example of this is the recent donation of 10 thousand vaccines to Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent.
These donations are relevant as Taiwan has had its own issues with acquiring vaccines due to Chinese pressure. In spite of this, Taiwan has been able to vaccinate nearly 80 percent of its population. Since vaccinations have slowed down, it seems to make sense to give vaccine supplies to nations that are less able to purchase vaccines for themselves.
While the number of vaccines donated seems low, it is at least a start. It should also be remembered that the two nations Taiwan contributed vaccines to have a combined a population below 300,000 people, so it seems that the donations could be significant.
While it is of course wished that Taiwan could do more, it is even more frustrating to listen to rich nations drone on about the efficacy and need for vaccines while they hoard 4th or doses, and more frustratingly, patent protections, for themselves. If these corporations truly want to put health first they should be opening up these patents to nations with the ability to produce these vaccines, hopefully Taiwan will also offer its domestic shot up for free as well.
It is possible that Taiwan’s local vaccine, Medigen, will soon be approved by the WHO and then Taiwan can mass manufacture its vaccine and fill the void of other nations that refuse to give up the sole rights to manufacture their vaccines, seemingly for financial reasons rather than in the service of public health. Some of the Medigen vaccines that have already been produced have also seen concerns about their full use before they expire so they could also be donated prior to their expiration date in order to try to provide protection instead of being destroyed.
While the number of vaccines Taiwan is donating seem small, it is nice to see Taiwan reaching out to other nations to do all it can to help. Hopefully these donations will have a positive impact on their recipients and garner more good will between their respective countries. Hopefully this also inspires far more opulent nations to take note and take their own advice in donating vaccines to countries that haven’t been able to purchase them and resending patent protections. If the companies holding on to them refuse to give them up, then they clearly aren’t putting public health first and should be commandeered by their respective nations so all who desire it can get access to vaccines. It is also hoped that nations will realize that vaccines will not stop the spread and will take measures to actually end the pandemic like masking, quarantines, and contact tracing as Taiwan has done.