The US will loan a portion of its releasable AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to Mexico and Canada, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients officially announced on Friday.
The US will be loaning around 4 million doses to the two countries as the US waits for official usage approval of the vaccine in the US, Zients said. CNN has previously reported Mexico will be receiving approximately 2.5 million doses, with 1.5 million going to Canada.
“Right now we have three effective vaccines that went through a rigorous review process authorized by the FDA. We have other vaccines going through that process now, including one from AstraZeneca. As we await the results of these trials here in the US, many countries have already approved AstraZeneca, but need more supply. That includes Canada and Mexico,” Zients said during Friday’s Covid briefing.
He continued, “So balancing the need to let the approval process of the AstraZeneca vaccine take place here in the US, with the importance of helping to stop the spread in other countries, we will loan a portion of our releasable AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada.”
The loan, Zients said, will allow US neighbors “to meet a critical vaccination need in their countries, providing more protection immediately across the North American continent.”
Zients clarified that those doses will not be taken from Americans since this vaccine is still not authorized for emergency use in the US.
“No American will be without a vaccine because of this action,” he said of the move.
Zients was pressed by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins to clarify how the loan process would work. He suggested it would follow “the structure of a loan” and the doses would be returned through AstraZeneca later in 2021.
“The structure of a loan, that's what makes most sense. And given what we're balancing here, which is helping our global partners while they have a critical need, and we await the results of the clinical trials here in the US and FDA action on AstraZeneca in the next several weeks,” Zients said.
He continued, “So this arrangement helps Canada and Mexico, in the moment, meet that critical need while ensuring that they return those doses through the company — through AstraZeneca — later in the year.”