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Biden Administration to Share Millions of AstraZeneca Vaccine Doses With Canada, Mexico

todayMarch 22, 2021 13

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The White House announced on Thursday that it’s finalizing plans to send doses of the vaccine to its northern and southern neighbors.

What We Know:

  • Dubbed “vaccine diplomacy,” Biden’s administration will provide Canada with about 1.5 million doses and Mexico with about 2.5 million, according to CNN. The move comes at a time of rising tensions due to an increase of illegal crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite the plans to share some of the country’s stockpile, the move will not affect Biden’s stated goal of providing enough vaccines for all Americans by May.
  • The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been cleared for distribution in the U.S. Currently, the FDA has authorized three vaccines for use: ones by Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. Because the AstraZeneca vaccine is still waiting approval, 7 million of its doses are sitting in storage.
  • The vaccine has already been approved in several countries. Still, its use was suspended by some countries, including Germany, France, and Italy, after some recipients reported blood clots. However, the European Medical Agency announced Thursday that the vaccine is safe for use, saying the benefits outweigh the possible risks.
  • NBC reported that while getting every American vaccinated is the priority, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated, “The reality is the pandemic knows no borders and ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is mission-critical to ending the pandemic.” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus coordinator added that, “This action will allow our neighbors to meet a critical action need in their countries, providing more protection immediately across the North American continent.”

The Trump administration ordered 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last May. Data collected by Johns Hopkins shows the U.S. has currently vaccinated 12% of its population, with Canada vaccinating only 1.7% and Mexico just 0.5%.

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