US to share millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses with other countries
The Biden administration on Monday announced that it will move to donate millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries, after pressure from lawmakers and advocates.
The United States has millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized in the US, but is in other countries, and could play a key role amid worsening spikes in cases abroad, particularly in India.
“Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the United States has already authorized, and that is available in large quantities, including two two-dose vaccines and one one-dose vaccine, and given AstraZeneca is not authorized for use in the United States, we do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against COVID over the next few months,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
Pressure had been mounting: Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) had called on the administration to release the doses on Sunday, as had Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown School of Public Health, in a Washington Post op-ed on Saturday.
Still, doses not available right away: Psaki said the doses cannot be released immediately, as they will first have to undergo safety reviews by the Food and Drug Administration. A Baltimore plant that had been producing the vaccine has faced a string of problems and was cited by the FDA for multiple safety failures.
Once the FDA clears the doses, “in the coming weeks,” Psaki said about 10 million doses will be available. An additional 50 million doses are in “various stages of production” and could be available across May and June, she said.