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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read