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

Brenda and Steve Smith with a photo of Derek Descoteau. It’s been five years since Derek was murdered in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved Chemainus murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

Fast action by Chemainus Fire Department crews prevented a motorhome fire from inflicting more serious damage on adjacent homes. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Fast action by Chemainus crews limits the damage from motorhome fire

Adjacent homes under threat from intense blaze

The former St. Joseph’s School converted to the St. Joseph’s Art Studios in 2019. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Former Chemainus St. Joseph’s School site sold to addictions recovery group

Diocese stresses the importance of a community outreach option in its decision

North Cowichan Coun. Christopher Justice said he believes the community will not be served well with the resignation of Chris Crowther from the OCP advisory council. (File photo)
Member of North Cowichan’s OCP advisory committee quits

Chris Crowther said OCP process devisive

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

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

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

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The new wing at the Victoria International Airport opened up on Thursday (File contributed/YYJ)
Pandemic takes ‘hundreds of millions’ out of Victoria Airport, Vancouver Island economy

Airport authority head says passenger volumes down as much as 98 per cent

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Reigning women’s World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, who also took bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will debut two brand new programs for the 2021 Stars On Ice tour, in Victoria May 15. (File photo)
Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko hit the ice when Stars On Ice returns to Vancouver Island

The star-studded lineup is makes a return after pandemic hiatus

Most Read