Americans wait for COVID-19 vaccines as US commits millions of doses to Mexico, Canada
About 182 million Americans have not yet received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine – and despite the White Housepromises to vaccinate them first, the Biden administration is already considering sending doses to neighbors in Canada and Mexico.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Friday that the United States considering sending 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in Mexico and 1.5 million doses in Canada.
The Biden administration has said that once U.S. citizens are vaccinated, the next step is to make sure Canada and Mexico are able to handle the pandemic so that the borders can reopen. That could mean more vaccines for Canada faster and a shorter wait for second doses.
The loan agreement will not affect President Biden’s goal of having all American adults eligible for a vaccine by May 1 and will not reduce the supply of vaccines available in the United States, said a senior administration official. Reuters.
Although Canada’s economy is closely interconnected with the United States, Washington has not authorized the export of the hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines made in America so far, and Canada has had to turn to the ‘Europe and Asia.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States, but has been approved by the World Health Organization. Tens of millions of doses have been stored in the United States under emergency use authorization, sparking international outcry that life-saving doses were withheld when they could be used elsewhere.
But AstraZeneca, in a statement regarding their US plans on Monday, said they expected to submit their EUA application to the FDA in “the first half of April.”
“If approved, we can deliver 30 million doses immediately after EUA, and additional doses for a total of 50 million in the weeks to follow,” they said. “Thereafter, we plan to deliver 15-20 million doses per month.”
According to the White House, the United States has a stockpile of 7 million releasable doses of AstraZeneca doses. This includes the amount the administration would lend to Mexico and Canada.
Meanwhile, difficulties in the vaccine supply chain have forced Canada to extend the time between the first injection to the second by up to four months so that everyone can be protected faster with the primary dose. The hope is to get at least one injection for all adults by the end of June.
Canadian regulators have approved the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but their acquisition has proven difficult.
Canada ranks around 20th for the number of doses given, with about 8% of the adult population receiving at least one injection. This compares to around 38% in the UK and 22% in the US
The vaccine-sharing plan is not fully finalized, Psaki said, adding that the “loan” could include other doses, but did not provide more details, while noting that immunization of Americans remains the most important. “first priority” of the administration.
“Our first priority remains the vaccination of the American population,” Psaki said during the daily briefing, while adding that “ensuring that our neighbors can contain the virus is a critical step for the mission, is essential to end the the pandemic “.
Earlier this month Mexican President Manuel López Obrador reportedly asked President Biden for immunization assistance, but when asked by reporters if the president would support the proposal, Psaki emphatically replied “no.”
“No,” she said. “The President has made it clear that his focus is on ensuring that vaccines are accessible to all Americans. This is our goal.”
She added, “But our goal, her goal, the administration’s goal, is to make sure every American is vaccinated, and when we reach that goal, we’re happy to discuss other steps beyond that. . “
So far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 81.4 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 44.1 million Americans have been fully immunized.
But the president has set a goal of vaccinating at least 100 million Americans in his first 100 days – a target administration officials believe is realistic, and will have exceeded, as the United States vaccinate more Americans per day than officials initially thought.
Meanwhile, as with other foreign aid, the Biden administration announced ahead of the G-7 virtual meeting last month that it had pledged $ 2 billion for the global COVAX vaccine initiative using funds already allocated by Congress, plus an additional $ 2 billion over the next two years.
COVAX is a United Nations-backed alliance that aims to provide vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable countries.
Additionally, as part of the G-7 virtual meeting last month, the president discussed a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, including coordinating vaccine production, distribution and supplies.
Former President Trump signed an executive order in December ensuring that all Americans have access to the coronavirus vaccine before the US government starts helping countries around the world.
Trump administration officials at the time said the order was intended to re-emphasize to the American people that “the priority has been an America First approach.”
Fox News’ Kaitlin Sprague, Madeline Farber, Remy Numa and The Associated Press contributed to this report.