WASHINGTON (AP) – With the United States closing in on President Joe Biden’s goal of injecting 100 million coronavirus vaccines weeks before his target date, the White House announced Thursday that the nation is now in a position to help supply the neighboring Canada and Mexico millions of lifeguards. shots.
The Biden administration unveiled outlines of a plan to “lend” a limited number of vaccines to Canada and Mexico, as the president announced that the United States is about to meet its 100-day injection target “much earlier than planned. “.
“I am proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days after our administration, we will have met our goal”Biden said. He promised to reveal a new vaccination target next week, as the United States is on track to have enough of the three currently licensed vaccines to cover the entire adult population in just 10 weeks from now.
Before Biden’s comments, the White House said it was finalizing plans to ship 4 million combined doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico and Canada in its first export of injections. Press secretary Jen Psaki said details of the “loan” were still being worked out, but that 2.5 million doses would go to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada.
“Our first priority remains vaccinating the American population,” Psaki said. But he added that “ensuring that our neighbors can contain the virus is a mission critical step, it is a critical mission to end the pandemic.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been licensed for use in the US, but it has been licensed by the World Health Organization. Tens of millions of doses have been stored in the US, pending authorization for emergency use, and that has sparked an international outcry that the life-saving vaccine is being withheld when it could be used elsewhere. The White House said only 7 million of the AstraZeneca doses are ready for shipment.
The initial series of doses manufactured in the U.S. is owned by the federal government under the terms of agreements reached with drug manufacturers, and the Biden administration has faced calls from allies around the world to release injections of AstraZeneca for immediate use. Biden has also received direct requests from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to purchase vaccines produced in the United States.
Global public health advocates say rich nations like the United States must do much more to help stop the spread of the pandemic. The World Health Organization issued a report on Thursday that fewer than 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have so far been administered in Africa. That’s the equivalent of what the United States administers in a matter of days.
Biden has moved for the US to contribute financially to the COVAX alliance backed by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, which will share the vaccine with more than 90 low- and middle-income countries, but the US has not yet. has agreed to share no dose. .
From his early days in office, Biden has set clear – and achievable – metrics for US success, whether it’s vaccines or school reopens, as part of an apparent strategy of less promise then more. Attendees believe that exceeding their targets builds confidence in the government after the Trump administration’s sometimes fanciful rhetoric about the virus.
The goal of 100 million doses was first announced on December 8, days before the United States even had a licensed vaccine for COVID-19, let alone the three that have now received emergency clearance. Still, it was generally seen as affordable, albeit optimistic.
By the time Biden took office on January 20, the US had already delivered 20 million shots at a rate of about 1 million per day, prompting complaints at the time that Biden’s target was not ambitious enough. . He quickly revised it up to 150 million doses in his first 100 days.
Now, the US is injecting an average of about 2.2 million doses per day, and the rate is likely to increase dramatically later this month along with an expected increase in vaccine supply.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injections of 96 million doses have been reported to the agency since Biden’s inauguration, but those reports are delayed from the actual date of administration. Vaccination trend lines pointed to Biden breaking the 100 million mark on Thursday, and the CDC is likely to confirm the figures as early as Friday.
The president has taken steps to accelerate deliveries of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, as well as to expand the number of places to receive vaccines and the people who can administer them, with a focus on increasing the nation’s ability to inject doses. as the supply restrictions are raised.
The risk of setting overly optimistic expectations is that an administration could define itself as failing to meet them, as in May 2020, when President Donald Trump said the nation had “prevailed” over the virus.
At that time, the country had seen around 80,000 deaths from the virus. This week, the death toll in the United States surpassed 538,000. Trump’s lax approach and lack of credibility also contributed to poor adherence to public safety rules among the American public.