White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Thursday that the US has 7 million releasable doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, and the Biden administration is working to finalize plans to lend 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada.
Biden could announce the agreement upon finalization as soon as Friday. CNN reported Wednesday night that negotiations between the US, Mexico and Canada were ongoing. If the agreement comes together, it would be the first time the US has shared vaccines directly with another country.
Several European countries have temporarily halted the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine over a small number of blood clot concerns. The European Medicines Agency said Thursday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine “is safe and effective in preventing Covid-19 and its benefits continued to be far greater than its risks.” The committee however could not “rule out definitively” a possible link to a rare blood clotting disorder.
Biden has met virtually with both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. During both conversations, his counterparts pressed him on the need for more vaccines in their countries. The Biden administration has so far maintained the stance that they would not share vaccines until all Americans could be vaccinated.
Mexican government officials pressed Biden officials on helping with vaccine supply during conversations between both parties regarding the surge on the southern US border. It was part of a broader discussion and not necessarily an exchange of one for the other, an official told CNN.
The US has a limited amount of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in stockpile, but the vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use in the US yet. AstraZeneca has been approved for use in both Canada and Mexico.
The Biden administration will eventually share excess vaccines — beyond the AstraZeneca doses — and does not see joint efforts alongside US allies as precluding them from unilaterally donating vaccines to other countries down the road, according to the senior administration official.