On Monday, officials said that the United States will release millions of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses to other countries. White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, Andy Slavitt, made the announcement on Twitter saying: “U.S. to release 60 million AstraZeneca doses to other countries as they become available.”
The announcement comes amid mounting pressure from lawmakers and experts since the United States has millions of doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that is authorized in other countries, such as India, where the COVID-19 crisis is worsening. The vaccine is not yet authorized for use in the United States. Slavitt responded to some of the criticism, tweeting: “To everyone who understandably says: ‘about time’ or ‘what were they waiting for,’ at this time there are still very few available. No real time has been lost.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a news conference Monday the AstraZeneca doses cannot be released immediately since they have to undergo Food and Drug Administration safety reviews, but she expects “in the coming weeks,” about 10 million doses will be available upon the FDA clearance. Psaki added that fifty million additional doses are in “various stages of production” and may be available in May and June.
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