May 19, 2021
Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at GCTF Workshop
on COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out: Experiences and Challenges
May 18, 2021
Minister Wu, Deputy Minister Hsueh, my fellow representatives from Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia, it is a pleasure to join you for the opening of this Global Cooperation and Training Framework or (GCTF) workshop on COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out: Experiences and Challenges.
Although Health Minister Chen Shih-chung cannot join us for this workshop, I would like to extend my appreciation to him and to Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Director General Chou and his team, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and our Japanese, British, and Australian colleagues for co-organizing this virtual workshop.
These are difficult times and talking about COVID-19 vaccines can be a sensitive subject. But just because this is a challenging topic, does not mean that health experts cannot build connections and work on ways to move forward.
We recognize that each country and region is at different stages in their COVID-19 vaccination programs. Unfortunately, many still face difficulties gaining access to vaccines. But we gather together today to share experiences and learn lessons from those experiences as partners in global health.
We hope the workshop today can build communication channels as we confront the new frontier of global pandemics. No country can beat the pandemic alone, we must all work together.
Despite this challenging context, Taiwan continues to demonstrate the goodwill to solve global health problems. Whether it is by leveraging its own world-class health care system and sharing its experience with the global community or through the donation of millions of dollars worth of medical supplies to the countries in need like India, it is no exaggeration to say that “Taiwan can help. Taiwan is helping.”
I would like to take a moment to underscore a critical point: Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the World Health Organization would benefit both the people of Taiwan and also the rest of the world. The pandemic has highlighted Taiwan’s capacity to research, develop, produce and supply effective treatments, including vaccines. And it has also demonstrated that Taiwan is a generous and reliable partner.
As the global pandemic continues, the world cannot afford to exclude any population from the international health system. The United States supports the call for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the World Health Assembly. Excluding Taiwan compromises global health and safety.
It is only by working together that our countries can address this ongoing pandemic and the emerging public health challenges that we are all facing.
What you work on today will make a meaningful difference in strengthening health security in your own regions and beyond.
Again, on behalf of the American Institute in Taiwan and my colleagues at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, I thank you all for the many significant contributions you make every day to maintain global health security.