Washington, D.C.— On May 21, U.S. Representative Andy Barr (KY-06) led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that included over 60 Members of Congress requesting that the U.S. deliver excess COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, a critical U.S. strategic partner. Today, the White House announced the U.S. is sending 7 million vaccines to Asia, and that Taiwan will be included in the distribution.
In recent weeks, Taiwan has been plagued by rising COVID-19 cases and fatalities. The surge in COVID-19 transmission has led to increased public health measures that could soon threaten to exacerbate the existing shortages in semiconductors, which are primarily manufactured in Taiwan. Some estimates place Taiwan’s market share on semiconductor production at 50%. These semiconductors are used in American automobiles as well as other critical smart technology.
Congressman Barr, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, said after today’s announcement: “These COVID-19 vaccines will be a lifeline for our Taiwanese friends. With COVID-19 vaccines being available to any American who wants one, we can now provide excess supply to our international partners.
“Time and time again, Taiwan has proven to be a great partner on global health, trade and so many other issues,” Barr continued. “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.”
"We're very grateful to be included in the U.S. global vaccine distribution plan. 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. Friends help each other, and Taiwan is committed to partnering with the U.S. in the global fight against COVID-19,” said Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s Representative to the U.S.
In April of 2020, the Taiwanese government provided more than 10 million face masks to countries in need, including the U.S., during the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to hit the U.S.