The United States will share 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine with other countries, the White House said on Monday, as the Biden administration comes under pressure to help areas struggling to contain a new wave of cases.
The White House said no decision has yet been made on which countries will receive the doses, although demand is likely high in India, where hospitals across the country have been overwhelmed by record numbers of patients amid ‘a new wave of catastrophic infections.
“The administration is examining options to share doses of the American-made AstraZeneca vaccine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “We don’t need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against Covid.” Vaccines from BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are licensed in the United States.
Earlier, Andy Slavitt, a coronavirus advisor to US President Joe Biden, tweeted that 60 million doses would be shared “as and when they become available.”
AstraZeneca has yet to submit its vaccine for US clearance as it continues its trials in the country. Psaki did not say the vaccine would need to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before being exported, but said the doses would need to pass quality checks.
The drugmaker said, “The doses are part of AstraZeneca’s supply commitments to the US government. Decisions to send US supplies to other countries are made by the US government. “
The United States had said previously it would ship several million doses of AstraZeneca to Canada and Mexico.
Monday’s announcement came shortly after Biden spoke with Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, to offer US support in tackling the latest spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the country.
New Delhi reported a world record of 349,000 new infections on Saturday, as well as more than 2,700 deaths, although experts believe the real numbers are vastly underestimated.
The Biden administration said over the weekend it was sending therapeutics, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment to India, and exploring other ways to deliver it. oxygen “urgently”.
Biden told Modi on Monday that the United States would show its “unwavering support for the Indian people who have been affected by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases”.
European countries have also pledged to help. The UK has said it will send hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators after a request from India. The EU has said it is “coordinating” supplies of oxygen and medicine after activating its civil protection mechanism at India’s request.