FDA official: US AstraZeneca stockpile not in danger of expiring

A coronavirus vaccine is prepared
Greg Nash

The U.S. stockpile of tens of millions of unused AstraZeneca vaccines is not in danger of expiring, a top administration health official said Wednesday.

“I do not believe we are at risk of throwing this out at any time in the near future,” Peter Marks, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine center, told a House panel.

The vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in the European Union and many countries around the world, but the company has not yet applied for authorization in the U.S.

The federal government preordered 300 million doses of the vaccine under the Trump administration, but issues with clinical trials have held up its authorization and the FDA is still waiting on additional data.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee that AstraZeneca’s U.S. clinical trial will be available “within a reasonable period,” likely early next month.

Still, the U.S. has tens of millions of unused doses of the vaccine in storage. Officials have said the stockpile is intended to make it easier to quickly distribute the vaccine across the country if the company receives FDA clearance in the coming weeks.

Other countries, including Mexico, have pressed the Biden administration to share doses, as has AstraZeneca.

But the White House said the U.S. has rejected all requests from other countries to share doses of its vaccines, and won’t consider sharing until everyone in the country has been vaccinated.

Experts and global health advocates think the U.S. has the ability to donate vaccines to other countries without significantly impacting their availability to Americans, but has been unwilling to make such a plan.

In the U.S., demand for vaccines still outpaces supply, but that is expected to change in the coming weeks. States are opening up eligibility, and President Biden said he expects there will be enough supply for every American who wants a vaccine by the end of May.

Tags Anthony Fauci AstraZeneca vaccine Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccines FDA Joe Biden

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