White House announces border agreements with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala
White House: US will help Mexico after Americans vaccinated
The Biden administration does not intend to share its coronavirus vaccine supply with neighboring countries until it can ensure that every American can be vaccinated, the White House said Monday ahead of a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
López Obrador is expected during the meeting to ask President Biden to consider providing Mexico with some of the U.S. vaccine supply. Asked whether Biden would take him up on the ask, White House press secretary Jen Psaki flatly said Biden would not.
"The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are accessible to every American. That is our focus," Psaki said at a press briefing. "The next step is economic recovery, and ensuring that our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, have similarly managed the pandemic so that we can open our borders and build back better."
"But our focus is on ... ensuring that every American is vaccinated," Psaki said. "And once we accomplish that objective we're happy to discuss further steps beyond that."
Biden will hold a virtual meeting with his Mexican counterpart on Monday afternoon. Biden met virtually with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week.
López Obrador's expected ask for help in acquiring vaccines comes amid a broader debate about how to ensure equitable distribution between richer countries and poorer countries in fighting the pandemic.
The United States is expected to have enough supply to vaccinate every American adult by the end of July, if not sooner, Psaki said Monday. But achieving that level of supply will not guarantee that every eligible American will have received a shot by then.
The Biden administration has taken some additional steps to aid global vaccination efforts, such as announcing a $4 billion contribution to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to support Covax, the global initiative to develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines to lower income countries.