Slovakia is to donate 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan in return for a donation of masks last year, the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said yesterday, following an announcement by the EU.
The European Commission on Thursday said that it has supported the sharing of more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccines with nations outside of the EU through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, including the 10,000 doses from Slovakia.
That makes Slovakia the second European nation to announce a plan to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan. Lithuania on June 22 announced that it would donate 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the nation, which are expected to arrive by the end of September.
Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib on June 15 urged the Czech government to share COVID-19 vaccines with Taiwan, although it did not act on his call.
“Slovakia does not forget its friends. Last year, Taiwan sent masks to Slovakia when the country was in difficult times. Now Slovakia hopes to make slight contributions in return by donating 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan,” the Slovak office wrote on Facebook in Mandarin and Slovakian.
The Taipei Representative Office in Bratislava yesterday wrote on Facebook that Slovakia had as early as late May expressed its intention to donate medical supplies to Taiwan.
To ensure the smooth handling of the donation through the EU mechanism, the Slovak government is still working on legal procedures, including confirming the brand of vaccine and the schedule, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement.
Ou thanked Slovakia for its sincere friendship and goodwill, adding that Slovakia and Taiwan have been maintaining close cooperation across different sectors.
Slovakia was the first EU member state to add Taiwan to its safe nations list in October last year, Ou said.
The government and civic groups last year donated 700,000 masks to Slovakia, she said.
Slovakia had planned to send a delegation to Taiwan in late May or last month to meet with the nation’s economic and technological agencies, two sources familiar with the matter told the Taipei Times.
The visit appeared to have been shelved due to the local COVID-19 outbreak, but the ministry had refused to confirm the plan.
Later last night, a Central News Agency cited sources as saying that a Slovak delegation would make a visit to Taiwan in September.
In related news, the government has donated 200 oxygen concentrators for the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases to Indonesia, where the number of daily infections has surged to more than 20,000.
The devices arrived in Jakarta on Monday and a donation ceremony was held on Wednesday in Taipei, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, with all direct flights between Jakarta and Taipei suspended due to the pandemic, a chartered flight arranged by the Taiwanese business community is to bring Taiwanese home from Indonesia on July 28, the ministry said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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