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U.S. to send 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to Canada

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Summary

The U.S. is trying to figure out how to send doses of its AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to Canada and Mexico

AstraZeneca vaccines could be sent to Canada, Mexico as part of loan deal with U.S.

The United States is figuring out how it could lend doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 to Canada and Mexico, according to a White House official.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public, says it is a complex process and they are still working out the details.

The Associated Press is reporting this could involve sending 1.5 million doses to Canada and 2.5 million doses to Mexico as a loan.

“This virus has no borders,” the official told Reuters. “We only put the virus behind us if we’re helping our global partners.”

Canada has been in talks with the U.S. about getting access to vaccines produced south of the border, especially the AstraZeneca shot, which has not been approved for use in the States, where millions of doses sit in storage.

AstraZeneca has millions of doses made in a U.S. facility and has said that it would have 30 million shots ready at the beginning of April.

Related video: Canada will see a spike in vaccine deliveries, thanks to shipments from the U.S.

On Wednesday, the U.S. said Canada would get priority for access to vaccine exports of U.S.-made vaccines as the European Union threatens restrictions.

President Joe Biden has said in the past that the U.S. will not share its vaccines until after it has enough for its own people.

This also comes as an EU regulator announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine is “not associated” with higher blood clot risk.

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, however, did say officials “cannot rule out definitively” a link to a rare clotting disorder.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine was responsible and that the benefits of immunization far outweigh the potentially small risk. The drugmaker likewise said it found no increased risk of clots.

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Some European countries had temporarily paused administration of the shot following reports of the side effect.

Earlier this week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) expanded its recommendation for the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 18.

The panel says it has considered three real-world effectiveness studies to inform the change in recommendation, citing evidence from the United Kingdom.

Until recently, NACI had recommended Canadians over 65 not receive an AstraZeneca shot.

NACI has said the latest clinical trial data suggests vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are more effective than AstraZeneca for seniors.

-With files from The Associated Press and Reuters