FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A “loan” of 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be sent to Mexico (2.5 million doses) and Canada (1.5 million doses), the White House said Thursday.
“Our first priority remains vaccinating the U.S. population,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at Thursday’s daily briefing. But she added that “ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is a mission critical step,” the Associated Press reported. The plan’s details are still being worked out.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States, but the company is expected to share results of its late-stage U.S. study and apply for emergency use authorization in the coming weeks. The World Health Organization, European regulators, and dozens of countries have approved the shots based on studies done in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
During the past week, several nations suspended their use of the vaccine following reports of clots in a few dozen of the millions of people across Europe who have received the vaccine. On Thursday, Europe’s medicines regulator said the shots do not increase the overall risk for clots and the benefits far outweigh the risks. Still, the debate raised fears that the safety question would undermine confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is key to immunization efforts in several countries.
The Biden administration has said that once U.S. citizens are vaccinated, the next step is ensuring Canada and Mexico can contain the pandemic so the borders between those countries can reopen.
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