Vaccine diplomacy: Japan to donate more COVID-19 vaccines across Asia

Foreign minister says Tokyo will send 1M doses each to Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand.

Vaccine diplomacy: Japan to donate more COVID-19 vaccines across Asia

Japan on Friday announced it will provide Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccines to Asian nations starting next week.

The country will donate one million coronavirus vaccine shots each to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters in Tokyo.

"We are making the final preparations," he said, adding that Japan will also offer one million doses each to Taiwan and Vietnam. This will be in addition to the batches of 1.24 million and one million shots it provided them, respectively, earlier in the month.

Separately, it will also provide 11 million doses of the vaccine to Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and the Pacific island countries under the UN-backed COVAX Facility, a global vaccine sharing initiative, from next month.

The minister said Japan is leading efforts to meet the program's funding gaps, and the countries have been selected on the basis of vaccine shortages, rate of infections, their bilateral agreements with manufacturers as well as relations with Japan.

While Japan has secured enough AstraZeneca vaccines for 60 million people, it does not intend to use them immediately due to reports of rare cases of blood clots.