Taiwan delivered over 150,000 doses of its locally-made Medigen vaccine to Somaliland, underscoring the two countries’ “rock-solid brotherly” diplomacy ties, Taiwan’s representative in Somaliland said on Monday.
The vaccine doses arrived at Egal International Airport during a meeting between Taiwanese Ambassador Allen Lou and Somaliland’s Health Minister Hassan Mohamed Ali Gafadhi on Monday, according to a statement released by Horn Diplomat.
This is Taiwan’s first time donating domestically-made vaccines to the international community as part of its commitment to assist Somaliland to combat the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
“This donation of 150,000 doses of Taiwan-made COVID-19 vaccines shows not only the rock-solid brotherly relationship between Taiwan and Somaliland but also the spirit of ‘Health for All’ and ‘Taiwan can Help’,” the Taiwan Representative’s Office said on Twitter.
It noted that Taiwan has been supplying medical masks, oxygen generators, antigen quick-test kits, and other medical supplies to Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region since the start of the pandemic.
The vaccines donation was made in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant in Africa. Medigen is a protein sub-unit vaccine developed by Taiwan-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics, which has received limited international recognition.
Representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States have also called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to include Taiwan in its annual meeting, citing the self-ruled island’s critical role in fighting the global pandemic.
France and Japan also supported Taiwan’s participation in the meeting, emphasizing the importance of inclusiveness and ensuring that no country is left out of the global health network, Taiwan’s local media reported, citing a source from Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Taiwan has been excluded from most global organizations such as the WHO due to objections from China, which considers the self-ruled island one of its provinces.
Somaliland, like Taiwan, has not received widespread international recognition for its independence. The autonomous region of Somaliland broke away and declared independence from Somalia in 1991.
Both China and Somalia have expressed their opposition to Taiwan and Somaliland’s forging of ties. In Africa, only tiny Eswatini maintains full relations with Taiwan.
Taiwan and Somaliland set up representative offices in each other’s capitals in 2020. The two allies also signed a medical cooperation agreement in June last year, which will allow Taiwan to provide medical services and train personnel in Somaliland.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill in August last year to call on the State Department to help Taiwan regain its observer status at the WHO.
Reuters contributed to this report.