Biden to send COVID shots to Canada, Mexico in first exports

"Our first priority remains vaccinating the USA population", Psaki said at the daily briefing.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier that another 2.5 million doses would go to Mexico, but the details were still being worked out.

The Biden administration has come under pressure from allies worldwide to share vaccine, particularly from AstraZeneca, which is authorized for use in other countries but not yet in the United States.

"God bless America they are coming to our rescue", said Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the leader of Canada's most populous province. "President Biden, thank you". "Good news!" he wrote.

He said "that's what true neighbors do, they help each other in a crisis".

"We get our doses from different locations than the Europeans do, so Health Canada reviews the data not just on the vaccine but on the manufacturing site, the batch number and what batch we receive".

The Biden administration has said that once USA citizens are vaccinated, the next step is ensuring Canada and Mexico are able to manage the pandemic so the borders can reopen.

AstraZeneca has millions of doses made in a USA facility, and has said that it would have 30 million shots ready at the beginning of April.

The United States now has seven million "releasable" doses of the vaccine, which has yet to receive approval from its Food and Drug Administration, she said.

Canada ranks about 20th in the number of doses administered, with about 8% of the adult population getting at least one shot.

The vaccine supply chain difficulties have forced Canada to extend the time between the first shot and the second by up to four months so that everyone can be protected faster with the primary dose. That compares with about 38% in the United Kingdom and 22% in the U.S.

"The conversation has been about the United States providing 1.5 million doses now, and then when we receive our 20 million doses of AstraZeneca that we are entitled to under a bilateral agreement with AstraZeneca, we will then exchange that back and provide 1.5 million back to the United States", Anand said, crediting this deal to the ongoing conversations at the federal level. Pfizer is delivering 5.5 million doses by the end of this month, 1.5 million more than required by contract.

Procurement numbers show there are 36.5 million doses confirmed to be shipped by June 30.

"Balancing the need to let the approval process play out of the AstraZeneca vaccine as it's taking place in the USA, with the importance of helping stop the spread in other countries, we are assessing how we can loan doses", Psaki told reporters during a briefing in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.



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