The Biden administration will ship its entire stock of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine overseas once the cure clears a federal safety review, the White House said Monday, as the U.S. remains far ahead of the rest of the world in immunizations.
The administration is expecting to ship roughly 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in coming months that are being stockpiled in the U.S. while awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
It was not immediately clear which countries will be picked for AstraZeneca allotments once the FDA gives the all-clear. Neighbors Canada and Mexico have asked for doses and are likely to be high on the U.S. priority list.
Psaki said the administration can afford to send off the AstraZeneca shots because the U.S. already has enough supply in the pipeline to inoculate the entire American population using the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
“We do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against COVID,” she said.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is already in use in other parts of the world, though the pharma company faced some production issues earlier this year amid concerns that its product caused a rare blood clot disorder in some recipients.
The U.S. has vaccinated more than 53% of its adult population with at least one dose of its three authorized vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and J&J, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
President Joe Biden says he expects there to be enough vaccine supply for the entire American population by early summer.
Many other parts of the world are not faring as well and enduring steep vaccine shortages due to supply chain and production issues.
Psaki’s announcement came after Biden spoke on the phone with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country is going through a devastating COVID-19 outbreak while struggling to accelerate vaccinations.
On the call, Biden vowed that the U.S. will provide India with “a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics,” according to a White House readout.