Astrazeneca Stock – US to Send 4M AstraZeneca Vaccine Doses to Mexico, Canada
The United States is “working to finalize” a plan to send a total of 4 million AstraZeneca vaccines to the two countries sharing its Northern and Southern borders, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Thursday.
Reuters was the first to report the news, citing an unnamed government official.
Under the terms of the negotiation, Mexico would receive a loan of 2.5 million doses, while Canada would receive 1.5 million, Psaki said. The details are still being worked out.
While the Food and Drug Administration has not yet issued emergency use authorization for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, the United States has about a 7 million dose stockpile available to be released, she added. The government has been waiting for U.S. data to begin its approval process, and AstraZeneca is expected to apply in the coming weeks for U.S. authorization for its vaccine candidate.
“Our first priority remains vaccinating the U.S. population, but the reality is that the pandemic knows no borders and ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is mission critical to ending the pandemic,” Psaki said during Thursday’s press briefing. “We have 7 million releasable doses available of AstraZeneca … 2.5 million of those we are working to finalize plans to lend to Mexico, and 1.5 million to Canada.”
Those “loans” could be for future AstraZeneca doses, or other vaccine doses, Psaki said. She would not clarify a timeline for when the negotiations between the countries might be finalized.
The announcement from the White House comes after criticism from international allies that the country was wasting invaluable doses of the vaccine, which despite not being approved domestically, has been given the green-light from the World Health Organization and is approved in over 70 countries.
Some of the hesitation to approve the vaccine stemmed from reports of health complications. Several European countries had suspended the use of the vaccine over the past week following reports of rare types of blood clots occurring in a small number of the millions of people who had received the shot across the continent.
But the European Union’s drug regulatory agency debunked those claims Thursday, saying the AstraZeneca vaccine is not linked to an overall increase in the risk of blood clots and that the benefits of use outweigh the risks, paving the way for European countries to resume administering the shots.
The United States has received requests for AstraZeneca doses from numerous countries, Psaki said Thursday. The administration plans to “continue those conversations” over time, but has no current plans to send doses out to countries other than Mexico and Canada.
Psaki did say that the U.S. anticipates having extra doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that could be available for shipment, but will focus on ensuring all eligible Americans are vaccinated before setting a timeline.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.