US Has Unused Vaccine, and Europe Wants It

US, which hasn't yet approved AstraZeneca vaccine, has tens of millions of doses that other nations want now
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2021 2:46 PM CST
US Is 'Sitting on' 30M Vaccine Doses Other Countries Want
A health worker shows AstraZeneca vaccine vials at a vaccination center set up in Rome on Monday.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

There's no approval yet for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the States, but in many countries there is—and those countries are miffed that in the meantime, the US is hoarding tens of millions of doses that could be getting injected into arms overseas. On Thursday, European Union sources told Reuters that the American government informed the 27-nation bloc not to count on getting its hands on those AstraZeneca vaccines, currently stored in US manufacturing plants, in the near future. "The US told us there was no way it would ship AstraZeneca vaccines to the EU," one senior official who took part in the talks says. The New York Times notes there are about 30 million already filled vials of the company's vaccine at its facility in West Chester, Ohio, while another company in Baltimore that's been commissioned by AstraZeneca has manufactured enough still-unbottled vaccine for tens of millions more doses.

It appears part of the reason for the Biden administration's reluctance to give away supply is the president's ambitious goals to get as many Americans as possible vaccinated, and soon, before sharing vaccines with others. AstraZeneca says to the Times via a spokesman that "we've asked the US government to give thoughtful consideration to [other countries'] requests." Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has other issues to contend with after its vaccine was pulled in multiple nations following the deaths of two people who developed blood clots after getting vaccinated. Denmark, where one of the deaths occurred, has temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as have Iceland, Norway, Bulgaria, and Thailand, per US News & World Report. Austria, where the other vaccinated patient died after developing blood clots, also paused a certain batch of the vaccine—ABV5300—during a probe, as have Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Luxembourg. (Read more AstraZeneca stories.)

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