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The US will begin sharing up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca Plc’s coronavirus vaccine with other countries as soon as the next few weeks, according to the White House on Monday.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated that the US would distribute the doses to other countries if they were available.
She reported that 10 million doses could be approved for export “in coming weeks.” Another 50 million doses are currently being manufactured and will be shipped in May and June.
Psaki said,“Right now we have zero doses available of AstraZeneca, noting that US regulators still need to review the quality of those already produced.
“The Biden administration is still deciding what the process will be to determine where and how it will share the vaccine.
“We will consider a range of options from our partner countries and, of course, much of that will be through direct relationships,” she said.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been authorized for US use by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Biden administration in March said” it would send roughly 4 million doses of the British drugmaker’s vaccine to Canada and Mexico, and is under growing pressure now to expand sharing of its stockpile with India and other countries.
India has been the pandemic’s most recent epicentre, continuing to overtake the country’s healthcare infrastructure.
An AstraZeneca spokeswoman declined to comment on the terms of the agreement, but confirmed that the doses were part of the company’s supply commitments to the US government. “Decisions to send US supply to other countries are made by the US government,” she said.
Following FDA approval, the doses will be distributed in the coming months, according to the Associated Press.
According to the Associated Press, the doses were manufactured at the Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore, which was heavily criticized for a lengthy list of cleanliness and processing issues discovered after an FDA inspection.
AstraZeneca no longer manufactures vaccine at that facility after a shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was contaminated with AstraZeneca ingredients.
J&J is currently in charge of vaccine development at the Emergent plaza.