USA shares 60 million AstraZeneca cans with different nations

A vial containing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is seen with syringes in the hospital of the Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, Poland on March 25, 2021.

Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The United States will share 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine with other countries as coronavirus cases continue to rise worldwide, a senior US official said Monday.

Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor to President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response team, said the U.S. government will share the AstraZeneca footage as it becomes available. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the vaccine for use in the United States

The US will not distribute doses of the vaccine unless it meets FDA expectations for “product quality,” senior government officials told reporters during a news conference Monday.

The government believes the US could release 10 million doses of the vaccine “in the coming weeks” pending FDA approval, an official said. Another 50 million doses could be distributed in May and June, the official said.

“As part of the US strategy of being prepared for a number of scenarios, the US has already made some AstraZeneca cans,” the official said. “Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the US already has, as mentioned earlier, and the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not approved for use in the US, we don’t need to use AstraZeneca vaccine here for the next several months . “

The move comes as state and local health officials say supplies of Covid vaccines are starting to outperform demand in some regions of the United States

More than 139 million Americans, or 42.2% of the total US population, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 94.7 million people, or 28.5% of the population, are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

According to CDC data, the rate of Covid vaccinations in the US fell over the weekend. The 7-day average of shots administered daily fell to 2.8 million on Sunday, the lowest level since late March.

U.S. health officials say the nation doesn’t need the AstraZeneca vaccine to meet its goal of having enough doses for all adults in the U.S. by the end of May.

Biden previously said he expected the US to share its surplus of vaccine doses with other countries. China and Russia have also shared vaccines with other countries.

A day earlier, the Biden government announced that it would immediately provide the raw materials needed to manufacture coronavirus vaccines in India as the country works to counter a rise in Covid-19 infections.

Over the past seven days, India has reported an average of 321,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University, a 50% increase from a week. The country has an average of 2,300 Covid deaths per day, according to Hopkins data. Media reports indicate that the official number is underestimated.

Cases are also increasing worldwide. The World Health Organization said earlier this month the number of new Covid-19 cases per week has nearly doubled in the past two months, which has brought global infections to their pandemic peak.

The WHO has urged wealthier nations like the US to donate vaccines to poorer or developing countries.

– CNBC’s Nate Rattner and Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

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