US to share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

The United States will begin sharing its entire stock of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines with the world once it clears federal safety reviews, the White House has said, with as many as 60 million doses expected to be available for export in the coming months.

The move on Monday greatly expands on the Biden administration’s action last month to loan about four million doses of the vaccine to Mexico and Canada. The AstraZeneca vaccine is widely in use around the world but has not yet been authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The White House is increasingly feeling assured about the supply of the three vaccines being administered in the US, particularly following the restart of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot over the weekend after an 11-day pause in use. The US has also been under mounting pressure in recent weeks to share more of its vaccine supply with the world, as countries like India experience devastating surges of the virus and others struggle to access doses needed to protect their most vulnerable populations.

“Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the US already has and that have been authorised by the FDA, and given that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not authorised for use in the US, 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 US is looking at options to share the AstraZeneca doses with other countries as they become available.”

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