Barr-led effort results in portion of excess U.S. vaccines sent to Taiwan

Following a push in May by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers, the White House on June 3 announced its global vaccine sharing strategy, which includes Taiwan, a critical United States strategic partner. 

“Time and time again, Taiwan has proven to be a great partner on global health, trade, and so many other issues,” said Rep. Barr, who serves on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I am proud to have led the effort to deliver excess vaccines to Taiwan to help them turn the corner in their time of need.” 

Rep. Barr and more than 60 lawmakers urged U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a May 21 letter to deliver excess U.S. COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, which had experienced a rising number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities.

Taiwan’s surge in COVID-19 transmission also led to increased public health measures that could threaten to exacerbate the existing shortages in semiconductors, which are primarily manufactured in Taiwan and used in American automobiles, as well as other critical smart technology, according to Rep. Barr and his colleagues.  

In addition, the Taiwanese government in April 2020 provided more than 10 million face masks to needy countries, including the United States, during the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Rep. Hill’s office.

As part of its global strategy, the United States now plans to send seven million vaccines to Asia as part of its first tranche of 25 million doses being sent abroad. Taiwan will be included in the distribution to Asia, according to the White House announcement. 

“These COVID-19 vaccines will be a lifeline for our Taiwanese friends,” Rep. Barr said. “With COVID-19 vaccines being available to any American who wants one, we can now provide excess supply to our international partners.”  

Bi-khim Hsiao, representative of the Republic of China to the United States, thanked Rep. Barr and his colleagues for their efforts. “We’re very grateful to be included in the U.S. global vaccine distribution plan,” she said. “Special thanks to Rep. Andy Barr and many other members of Congress from both the House and the Senate for the bipartisan and bicameral support to address the unique and urgent vaccine needs of Taiwan.”