The United States has agreed to send a surplus of around four million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in loan deals to Mexico and Canada.
With a stockpile of 7 million doses of the vaccine, the U.S. plans to lend 2.5 million to Mexico and 1.5 million doses to Canada, White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on March 18.
The plan would mark the first time the U.S. has formally committed to supply vaccines to other countries.
“The pandemic knows no borders. And ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is… mission critical to ending the pandemic,” Psaki said.
“It is not fully finalized yet, but that is our aim and what we’re working toward to Canada and Mexico. This is a complex process, and our team is working with the companies to move it forward,” Psaki also said.
Under the vaccine agreement, Canada and Mexico must return any excess doses to the U.S.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed the vaccine agreement on Twitter and stated, “It would be the best start for a broad cooperation on vaccines. We continue working.”
Mexico has signed agreements with China and Russia for vaccine supplies, but rollout of the vaccine has had delays.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford praised the vaccine agreement, saying “God bless America. They’re coming to our rescue. That’s what true neighbors do.”
Canada has secured doses of COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies, but supply-chain issues have caused delay in vaccine distribution.
Canadian public health officials are concerned that a third wave of COVID-19 cases may occur, especially in Ontario, its most populous province.
Canada and Mexico have already approved the AstraZeneca vaccines. Meanwhile, the vaccines are still waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.
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