The Biden administration announced Monday that the United States will soon begin distributing its supplies of the Astra-Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine to other countries in need. Once they clear federal safety standards, as many as up to sixty million doses are expected to be available for shipping in the months ahead.
Last month, the US shared millions of doses with Mexico and Canada. The Astra-Zeneca Vaccine is currently in use around the world, but has yet to be authorized for use in the US by the FDA.
The US has not yet finalized where the vaccine will be distributed. India is certainly a possibility. It is currently experiencing a COVID crisis. Hospitals are overflowing and patients are reported to be dying as they are awaiting treatment. India has broken records, reporting 353,000 new cases in as many as five days. It also added 2,812 deaths to its total of more than 195,000.
“The crisis in India is a humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes,” said Tom Hart, the CEO of the ONE campaign, a non-profit to end poverty.
According to the White House COVID-19 coordinator, Jeff Zients: “Given the strong portfolio of vaccines the US already has and that have been authorized by the the FDA, and given that the Astra-Zeneca vaccine is not authorized for use in the US, we do not need to use the vaccine here during the next several months. Therefore, the US is looking at options to share the Astra-Zeneca doses as they become available.”
Tom Hart of the ONE campaign: “The Biden administration’s decision to begin sharing Astra-Zeneca vaccines is welcome news and an important first step towards the US sharing more of its massive vaccine stockpile. The administration should build on its first step and start sharing more vaccines as soon as possible.”
Sources: AP News, NY Times.