The United States plans to share millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine with other countries in the coming months, the White House announced on Monday.
“Today we announced that the administration is looking at options to share American-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses during the next few months,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during Monday’s White House press briefing.
Psaki indicated that the decision was made because of the US’ available supply of other Covid-19 vaccines approved for use. The US has tens of millions of AstraZeneca vaccines stockpiled but none have been used because it has not yet been granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration.
“Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the United States has already authorized and that is available in large quantities, including two two-dose vaccines and one one-dose vaccine, and 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,” Psaki said.
Psaki said the FDA will conduct a quality review of doses before they can leave the country and that the US’ plan to distribute the vaccine is still being developed. The White House has not said which countries will get the vaccine.
A senior administration official said later on Monday that there could be up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine available to be shared with other countries in the next two months, assuming the FDA issues an emergency use authorization for the vaccine.
Some context: Multiple world leaders have pressed US President Joe Biden to share doses as other countries have struggled to ramp up vaccinations. One of those countries is India, which is currently going through one of the worst Covid surges in the world.
Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on Monday. Modi did not make a specific request for vaccines when he spoke with Biden, according to senior administration officials.
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