The U.S. will begin sharing its entire stock of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines with the world once it clears federal safety reviews. The White House made the announcement on Monday. It said as many as 60 million doses expected to be available for export in the coming months.
The move greatly expands on the Biden administration’s action last month to share about 4 million doses of the vaccine with Mexico and Canada. The AstraZeneca vaccine is widely in use around the world but has not yet been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the U.S. already has and that have been authorized by the FDA, and given that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not authorized for use in the U.S., we do not need to use the AstraZeneca vaccine here during the next several months,” said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. “Therefore the U.S. is looking at options to share the AstraZeneca doses with other countries as they become available.”
The U.S. has yet to finalize where the AstraZeneca doses will go, Zients said. Neighbors Mexico and Canada have asked the Biden administration to share more doses, while dozens of other countries are looking to access supplies of the vaccine.
“We’re in the planning process at this point in time,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked where the doses would go.
The AstraZeneca doses will be donated by the U.S. government, which has contracted with the company for a total of 300 million doses — though the company has faced production issues.