President Biden’s administration plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico and Canada, the White House confirmed Thursday, a development that comes as the U.S. faces a surge of migrants at the southern border with Mexico.
Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the plans, which were first reported by Reuters and The Washington Post, but said that they were not yet finalized.
“Our first priority remains vaccinating the U.S. population, but the reality is the pandemic knows no borders,” Psaki told reporters. “Ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is mission critical to ending the pandemic.”
Psaki said that officials are working to finalize plans to give Mexico 2.5 million doses and give Canada 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been approved in the United States. She said that the U.S. has 7 million “releasable” doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in total and suggested the administration could share extras with other countries in the future.
“Balancing the need of letting the approval process play out of the AstraZeneca vaccine as it is taking place in the U.S. with the importance of helping stop the spread in other countries, we are assessing how we can loan doses,” she said. “That is our aim, it is not fully finalized yet but that is our aim and what we’re working toward.”