US to ‘loan’ COVID-19 vaccines to Canada and Mexico
The White House said it will send four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada and Mexico.
The United States plans to send four million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico and Canada in loan deals with the two countries, the White House said on Thursday.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed an earlier report by Reuters news agency that the US will send 2.5 million doses of the vaccine to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada.
“I can confirm that we have seven million releasable doses available of AstraZeneca,” Psaki said during a regular news conference, adding, “2.5 million of those we are working to finalise plans to lend those to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada.”
Earlier on Thursday, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed that an agreement had been reached with the US over a vaccine loan, without providing details.
“I have been asked if it is true that there is a vaccine agreement with the United States to follow up on the conversation between Presidents Lopez Obrador and Biden. Yes, the information is correct,” Ebrard said in a tweet.
Me consultan si es veraz que hay un acuerdo de vacunas con EU en seguimiento a la conversación entre los Presidentes López Obrador y Biden. Sí, es correcta la información. Mañana a las 9 am les doy los detalles porque todavía estamos trabajando en ello. Buenas noticias!
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) March 18, 2021
Translation: I have been asked if it is true that there is a vaccine agreement with the United States to follow up on the conversation between Presidents Lopez Obrador and Biden. Yes, the information is correct. Tomorrow at 9 am I will provide you with the details because we are still working on it. Good news!
The Biden administration has come under pressure from allies worldwide to share vaccines, particularly from AstraZeneca, which is authorised for use in other countries but not yet in the US.
Earlier in March, before a bilateral meeting, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he had asked Biden for a vaccine loan. Psaki at the time said the US was focused on vaccinating Americans, and will not be sending vaccines to Mexico or other countries.
“Our first priority remains to vaccinate the US population, but the reality is the pandemic knows no borders and ensuring our neighbours can contain the virus is a mission critical to ending the pandemic,” Psaki said on Thursday.
Reports of blood disorders have prompted more than a dozen nations to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine but on Thursday the European Union’s drug watchdog said after an investigation it is still convinced the benefits of that vaccine outweigh the risks.
Psaki said, under the deal, Mexico and Canada will repay the US with AstraZeneca doses or another vaccine. The deals, she said, are still being finalised.
Citing unnamed US officials, Reuters reported on Thursday that the US has no plans to share the vaccine with other countries at this time.
Biden has set a goal to have vaccines available for all adults in the US by the end of May. The coronavirus has killed more than 538,000 Americans.