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

Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. Toxic illicit drugs have claimed the lives of 498 British Columbians in the first three months of 2021, said the BC Coroners Service. (BCEHS photo)
Increase in overdose cases a concern: Fort St. James RCMP

Police issue public health announcement

Jim Woodruff from the Vanderhoof Curling Club has won volunteer of the year by Curl BC. (Photo submitted)
Jim Woodruff awarded Curl BC Volunteer of the Year

“It really is fun making nice ice.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for Cluculz Lake’s new fire hall will take place Tuesday, June 22. The current fire hall is able to only store one apparatus. (Photo submitted)
New fire hall on the way for Cluculz Lake

Approximate $950,000 facility anticipated to be completed by this fall

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Then-minister Rich Coleman, escorted by Victoria Police, makes his way to the east wing amid a protest blocking the legislature entrances before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. money laundering inquiry testimony ends today with reappearance of Rich Coleman

Responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, Coleman been recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month

Colin Dowler rests in hospital recuperating from wounds suffered from a grizzly bear attack north of Campbell River. He was able to end the struggle by stabbing the bear in the neck with a knife like the one he is holding. Photo submitted
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 B.C. attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

Most Read