- The Biden Administration plans to donate millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine to other countries.
- Since the supply of vaccines in the United States is stable and doses are now available to all Americans, donations will not affect the availability of vaccines in the United States.
- Experts say the United States needs to share information on vaccine licensing and manufacturing with other countries, allowing them to increase their own vaccine production.
On April 16, the Biden government announced that the US would split up to 60 million doses of its supply of AstraZeneca Vaccine for covid19. Although AstraZeneca did not apply for an emergency use authorization (USA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the USA stocked the vaccine.
Because supplies from the three COVID vaccines approved in the USA are stable and almost half of American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, this donation will not affect the availability of the vaccine in the USA.
The United Kingdom, the European Union, Asia and Africa are widely distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is manufactured in Baltimore, Maryland.
“I think it is the right thing to do, and I think it will help, but obviously, the need is much greater,” Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH, Professor Desmond M. Tutu of Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Verywell. “It can be done and it must be done.”
Doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be donated – a move that some are calling “vaccine diplomacy” – until the FDA confirms that all doses to be shared meet their expectations of product quality.
The Biden administration has previously given several million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada and Mexico.
There are 10 million doses waiting for FDA approval, and another 50 million doses will be evaluated and donated later, probably in late May or June. The second batch of donations is in several stages of production.
As the AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses, 60 million doses will immunize only 30 million people. Given the size of the world population, the donation is small.
Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH
We need to get out of charity when we think of responding globally to these pandemics. We have to start thinking more about how we are all in this together.
– Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH
Still, Beyrer says that “everything helps here because in most parts of the world, the United States, the United Kingdom and European countries apart, we are still in a period of extreme vaccine shortages, with much more need and demand”.
With variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the rise, vaccination is crucial. Still, total global immunization is unlikely to occur until at least sometime in 2023,that Beyrer says “is a very slow release to avoid these variants.”
Shortage of Surplus
The United States “doesn’t need the AstraZeneca vaccine right now,” says Beyrer – a sentiment echoed by the White House.The US is expected to have hundreds of millions of surplus doses of vaccines.
Currently, all U.S. states and territories have enough doses of COVID vaccine for everyone over 16 years of age.
“What is so impressive now is that after a period of vaccine shortages in the United States, we are really reaching an inflection point, which is extraordinary,” says Beyrer, adding that he did not expect the US to be at this point. at the beginning of the vaccination process. His first predictions were for June or July.
“I say all of this really just to make it clear what the government is doing, that the AstraZeneca donation is not at the expense of any American or anyone in America who wants a vaccine,” says Beyrer.
What does this mean for you
If you are an adult aged 16 or over in the USA, you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. Find an appointment near you on here.
Sharing how to make more vaccines
According to Beyrer, the next steps should ensure that developing countries can build up their own vaccine stocks. To facilitate this, the United States would need to share intellectual rights and the means to manufacture vaccines.
Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH
We need to build scientific capacity and vaccination capacity, globally, and we can do that.
– Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH
“We need to start thinking about the transfer of intellectual property and the increase in manufacturing in low- and middle-income countries that could manufacture these vaccines,” says Beyrer. “If we could increase global supply through local manufacturing, it would not only help to deal with this huge problem now, but it could also help us to stay ahead of these variants.”
The transfer of intellectual property and licensing for the manufacture of vaccines can be a lasting solution to the problem.
“We need to build scientific capacity and vaccination capacity, globally, and we can do that,” says Beyrer. “These products are not easy to make, but there are several countries that can do that.” He cites Brazil, Thailand, South Africa and South Korea as countries with experience in the manufacture of vaccines.
Beyrer adds that sharing vaccine licensing “is also the kind of thing that helps us globally for the next pandemic. We need to get out of charity when we think of responding globally to these pandemics. We have to start thinking more about how we are all in this together. ”
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