A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL

U.S. plans to share AstraZeneca stockpile based on urgent need, pending FDA clearance

Canada, however, has clearly been on U.S. President Joe Biden’s mind of late

The White House is making plans to share as many as 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including 10 million in the coming weeks — but exactly where they will go remains to be seen.

The first 10 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses, a product not yet approved for use in the U.S., must be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration before they can be exported, press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

“Our national security team, our COVID team, working with the State Department and others — we’re going to assess a range of requests, a range of needs around the world,” she said.

“We expect there to be approximately 10 million doses that could be released, if or when the FDA gives its concurrence, which could happen in the coming weeks. So this is not immediate.”

It was not immediately clear whether any specific countries are especially high on the White House priority list, although much of Monday’s briefing lingered on plans to provide hard-hit India with oxygen, raw material for vaccines, personal protective equipment and other supplies.

“We are continuing to look for a range of ways to help India, so we’re talking about what we can redirect what is available now,” Psaki said, citing a particular need for oxygen and oxygen-generation systems.

“We may be in a position to reroute shipments planned for other countries with lower immediate needs, given the urgency of the conditions in India.”

The country has been swamped by a devastating second wave of the virus, with nearly 353,000 new cases and 2,800 deaths on Monday alone. Hospitals are overwhelmed and vaccine supply can’t keep up with demand.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that sharing AstraZeneca doses with India is on the table.

“That’s something that certainly is going to be actively considered.”

Psaki did not specifically mention sending doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to India, noting that the U.S. is focused on what it can send immediately, and that none of the AstraZeneca stockpile has been cleared for export.

Canada, however, has clearly been on U.S. President Joe Biden’s mind of late.

Last week, after a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he noted the U.S. had already sent 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses north of the border and suggested more would be forthcoming.

“We helped a little bit there,” Biden said. “We’re going to try to help some more.”

The remaining 50 million doses are still in various stages of production and likely won’t be subject to approval until May and June, Psaki said.

She did say, however, that they would be shared on a bilateral basis, rather than through the global vaccine development initiative known as COVAX.

“We’re working through what the process will look like and we will consider a range of options from our partner countries, and of course much of that will be through direct relationships,” Psaki said.

Those initial 1.5 million doses to Canada, along with 2.5 million doses to Mexico, were characterized by the White House as a “loan,” reportedly to navigate the language in contracts with vaccine suppliers.

Psaki didn’t rule out whether future shipments would have to be characterized the same way.

“We are considering a range of options,” she said.

“As we put together a plan and we consider the range of requests we have and determine where we will be distributing vaccines, we will do that through a range of means.”

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

CoronavirusUSAvaccines

Just Posted

Transit Future Action Plan for Chilliwack and FVRD aimed at increasing services over five years and restoring ridership to pre-COVID levels. (BC Transit)
Future planning for Chilliwack transit aims to restore ridership lost to pandemic

Transit future plan envisions adding peak buses and service hours over next five years

Items seized by RCMP during a May 13 raid on Butchart Street. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP seize guns and drugs during raid on Butchart Street property

Police executed a search warrant on a home May 13, arresting one man at the scene

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Looking out over the Fraser Valley from Chipmunk Ridge from the proposed Bridal Veil Mountain Resort. (BVMR)
Chance to ask questions about gondola resort proposal near Chilliwack

Project team for Bridal Veil Mountain Resort is holding another virtual info session

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, at press conference Monday. (Submitted photo)
Crime Stoppers receiving $200K from province for ‘Guns and Gangs’ tip line campaign

Executive director Linda Annis broke the news Monday morning in Surrey

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Vancouver Police Department)
Vancouver police ID 6 gangsters who pose a ‘public safety risk,’ launch gang task force

VPD asking public to stay away from these six people, who they say may be targeted in shootings

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Then-finance minister Kevin Falcon presents his last B.C. budget, Feb. 21, 2012. The province was emerging from the 2009-10 recession and repaying federal incentive to cancel the harmonized sales tax. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Political veteran Kevin Falcon set for second run at B.C. Liberal leadership

Vancouver MLA Michael Lee announces on the same day

Most Read