Story at a glance

  • The Biden administration will allocate about 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and Mexico.
  • The company recently dispelled safety concerns surrounding its vaccine.

On Thursday, the Biden administration confirmed that it would be sharing its stockpile of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses to its northern and southern neighbors, fulfilling earlier requests by agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) for wealthier nations to share their vaccines.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that about four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be shared between Mexico and Canada. 

The vaccine developed between pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and England’s Oxford University is approved for use in both countries, but not yet in the U.S.

“Our first priority remains vaccinating the U.S. population, but the reality is the pandemic knows no borders, and ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is mission critical to ending the pandemic,” Psaki said

Mexico will be allocated about 2.5 million doses, and Canada will receive the remaining 1.5 million.

AstraZeneca has recently released encouraging data showing efficacy in preventing a COVID-19 infection with a single dose of its vaccine. Similar vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer currently require two doses injected intramuscularly. 

More recently, several European Union countries opted to stop using AstraZeneca to vaccinate their populations following the appearance of a rare blood clotting disorder in some vaccine recipients. 

AstraZeneca leadership, along with European health regulators, said the benefits to the vaccine still outweigh any potential risks or side effects. 

“A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country,” company officials wrote

As of March 8, about 15 events of deep vein thrombosis and 22 incidents of a pulmonary embolism were reported among those who received the vaccine — a figure still lower than national averages among general populations. 

Published on Mar 19, 2021