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The United States will send four million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Canada and Mexico, the White House said Thursday.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is still pending FDA approval in the US but has been approved in other countries, will be shipped out to prevent those doses from continuing to go unused.
“Many countries, as you know, have already approved AstraZeneca[‘s vaccine] and also have requested our doses from the United States,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing, saying that while this includes Canada and Mexico, “it’s certainly not limited to Canada and Mexico.”
Psaki said the decision came from a place of “balancing the need to let the approval process play out of the AstraZeneca vaccine as it’s taking place in the US, with the importance of helping stop the spread of the in other countries.”
The US, she confirmed, has 7 million “releasable doses available,” with 2.5 million going to Mexico and 1.5 million going to Canada.
Psaki went on to say that the administration was aiming to help with international vaccine distribution while not interfering with getting Americans inoculated swiftly.
Speaking to Reuters, a Biden administration official said that the deal to share the vaccine was still being finalized, but that the shipments would be delivered in “short order” once the agreement was completed.
Under the terms of the deal, the official explained, both countries will be expected to pay the US back with doses in return later this year.
The drugmaker has said it is on track to have 30 million shots of their vaccine by early April.
Still, the news comes as numerous European countries suspend the vaccine after a handful of people who received it developed blood clots, some of which were linked to deaths.
Sweden and Latvia joined the growing list of nations this week.
More than a dozen EU countries — including Germany, France and Italy — have temporarily yanked the vaccine despite assurances from AstraZeneca and the World Health Organization that it is safe.
With Post wires
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