US to Share Vaccine With Neighbors

AstraZeneca supply is untapped, pending approval
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2021 5:38 PM CDT
US to Send Vaccine to Canada, Mexico
Senior citizens wait last month under an orange tent to be inoculated with a dose of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V at the Sports Center in the Xochimilco borough of Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

For the first time, President Biden will send some of the coronavirus vaccine supply the US has bought to other countries in need. About 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be sent to Canada, and 2.5 million will go to Mexico, Reuters reports. The shipments are loans, expected to be repaid in vaccine later this year, per Axios. The deal hasn't quite gone through. "It is not fully finalized yet, but it is our aim," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. The two countries, which have to import vaccines, trail the US in vaccination rates. Only China has manufactured more vaccine than the US, which has produced 27% of the global supply. China has sold more than half of its supply to other nations, while the US has not exported any, instead focusing inward.

Pressure has been building on the US to share, especially its AstraZeneca stockpile. That product hasn't been approved for use in the US, so million of doses are piling up. Other countries do allow AstraZeneca doses to be administered. A Biden administration official said this deal won't affect the nation's vaccine supply or hurt Biden's effort to make doses available to everyone in the US by the end of May. With this precedent set, other nations needing vaccine could come knocking at the door of the US. Several European nations had suspended AstraZeneca vaccinations over concerns about blood clots, but the European Union's medical agency announced Thursday it still endorses the vaccine's use. (More AstraZeneca stories.)

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