The Biden administration said it will send Mexico and Canada millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been approved in the United States despite widespread use around the world, The New York Times reports.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the White House would send 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada, though she added that the deal was “not finalized yet, but that is our aim.”
Tens of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been sitting unused in warehouses despite being approved by dozens of other countries.
Psaki said the deal would essentially be a loan, with the US getting back doses of the same vaccine or others in the future.
The move to send Mexico vaccines comes as Biden tries to respond to a surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border.
Despite aiming to dismantle Trump’s immigration legacy, Biden is relying on Mexico to stem the flow just as his predecessor did.
Biden asked Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to do more to help solve the problem before vowing to send the country millions of vaccine doses.
Psaki said the discussion was “unrelated” but “overlapping.”
Regulator says AstraZeneca vaccine is safe:
The deal comes after a spate of European countries halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to a small number of reports of blood clots even though the World Health Organization and public health experts insisted that there was no evidence of a causal relationship.
European medical regulators this week confirmed that the vaccine is safe and recommended its use.
AstraZeneca said a review of the 17 million people who have received at least one dose were less likely to develop blood clots than the general population.