The US will share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with the world, the White House has said.
The vaccine has not yet been authorized for use in the US but the country has been making good progress on its vaccination program using the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J jabs.
White House COVID-19 response co-ordinator Jeff Zients said: “Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the US already has and that have been authorized by the FDA, and given that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not authorized for use in the US, we do not need to use the AstraZeneca vaccine here during the next several months.
“Therefore the US is looking at options to share the AstraZeneca doses with other countries as they become available.”
More than 53% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and it is expected that there will be enough to cover the entire population by early summer.
Meanwhile, other countries are desperate – India is struggling under the weight of a COVID-19 outbreak that has seen it set records for the number of new cases in each of the past five days, and many other poor countries have not even started vaccinating due to lack of supply.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said 10 million doses already produced could be cleared for export “in coming weeks”, with 50 million more ready to ship in May and June.