U.S. Will Share Vaccine Dose Surplus With Other Countries

The United States plans to ship its stockpile of millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses overseas, a move aimed at helping other countries struggling with a lack of doses to vaccinate their populations.

White House Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said in a tweet Monday that 60 million doses of the vaccine would be sent to other countries “as soon as they become available.”

COVID vaccine distirbution
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]
The decision comes as the pandemic has spiked in India, where thousands are dying daily as the nation’s stressed hospitals struggle to treat the virus. President Joe Biden spoke to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday and administration officials said Monday they are sending a range of supplies to India, including oxygen equipment, raw materials used in vaccine production, rapid testing kits, and the treatment Remdesivir.

Public health officials, lawmakers, and world leaders have been urging the U.S. to release some of its stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries that have cleared it for use while American reviews of safety and efficacy data continue. Slavitt didn’t mention which countries would be receiving the vaccines.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said no doses will be shared until the Food and Drug Administration has concluded its review, which should take several more weeks. She said the U.S. currently has 10 million doses and expects an additional 50 million to be delivered by the company during May and June.

“Given that AstraZeneca is not authorized for use in the United States, we do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against Covid over the next few months,” she said. “Before any AstraZeneca doses are shipped from the United States, the FDA will confirm any such doses meet its expectation for product quality.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine has suffered from delays after “very rare” incidents of blood clots and questions over the data the company submitted to the FDA.

The Biden administration had said it would wait to share significant numbers of its doses with other countries until it had ensured enough supply for Americans. But in recent days, administration officials have said they are confident they will have enough doses of the Pfizer and the Modern vaccines to vaccinate every U.S. adult who wants one. The two companies have agreed to supply a total of 600 million doses by the end of July.

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