Healthcare

Biden says he expects to share vaccine doses with Canada

President Biden gives an update on his administration's coronavirus response effort
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President Biden said Wednesday that he expects the United States will share surplus coronavirus vaccine doses with Canada and countries in Central America.

“We’re in the process of doing that. We’ve done a little bit of that already. We are looking at what is going to be done with some of the vaccines that we are not using,” Biden told reporters after a speech on vaccinations at the White House. “We’ve got to make sure they are safe to be sent, and we hope to be able to be of some help and value to countries around the world.”

Biden noted that he recently spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, adding that he expects to be able to send doses to Canada and countries in Central America that have fallen behind in the pace of vaccinations. 

“It’s in process. We don’t have enough to be confident to send it abroad now, but I expect we are going to be able to do that,” Biden said without offering a time frame for the move. 

In a subsequent readout of Biden’s call with Trudeau, the White House said that the two leaders “agreed to continue efforts to control the pandemic, collaborate on public health responses and global health security, as well as to support global affordable access and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including through the COVAX facility.”

It did not make specific mention of any offer of or discussion about sharing vaccine doses. 

The U.S. in March agreed to send 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which has yet to be approved in the U.S., to Mexico and Canada. 

Biden in his speech Wednesday announced that the U.S. is on the cusp of delivering 200 million vaccine doses, beating his goal of doing so in his first 100 days in office. The White House expects there will be enough available vaccine doses for every American adult by the end of May, even in light of the recent pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Biden has been under pressure to do more to help other countries vaccinate their populations, with health experts warning that the coronavirus will not be fully extinguished until the globe – not just the U.S. – is fully vaccinated.

The White House has insisted that the U.S. will not share doses of approved vaccines with other countries until it has enough to vaccinate the adult U.S. population.

Still, Biden is sending $4 billion in contributions to COVAX, the program that aims to vaccinate populations of poorer countries.

Sending surplus doses to other countries could help quicken the pace of vaccinations significantly in places such as Canada where vaccine rollouts have been bumpier than in the U.S. 

Updated 3 p.m.

Tags Canada coronavirus vaccine Covax Joe Biden Johnson & Johnson vaccine Justin Trudeau United States

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