WASHINGTON — The White House says it is working on a plan to lend 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and an additional 2.5 million doses to Mexico.
Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the effort Thursday, but emphasized that the details have not been fully worked out.
The U.S. currently has 7 million "releasable" doses of the vaccine, which has yet to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration, she said.
"Balancing the need to let the approval process play out ... with the importance of helping stop the spread in other countries, we are assessing how we can loan doses," Psaki told a media briefing.
"It is not fully finalized yet, but that is our aim and what we're working toward with Canada and Mexico."
The loan would be in lieu of a future exchange of doses from Canada and Mexico, Psaki said — either of the AstraZeneca vaccine or a different one.
Last week, Canadian provinces began administering 500,000 doses of the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India.
The federal government has purchased 20 million doses directly from AstraZeneca, but did not have a timeline for when they would arrive.
On Wednesday, the White House confirmed Canada asked the Biden administration for help in procuring vaccines, but repeated it first wants to ensure every American who wants to can get their shots.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.
The Canadian Press