The AstraZeneca vaccine is on the move.
On Thursday, The European Medicines Agency declared that the embattled vaccine was “not associated” with higher risk of blood clots. Thirteen EU nations had paused use of the vaccine following fears that it might cause clotting. But now the AstraZenenca product will be distributed across the continent. Italy said they’d resume using it as soon as Friday. Each EU member controls their own vaccine policy.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the AstraZeneca vaccine has still not been approved by American regulators, but the U.S. is sitting on a huge stockpile. On Thursday, the Biden administration announced that they’d send millions of doses of the vaccine to their neighbors, who have approved the drug.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said there are plans to “loan” 2.5 million doses to Mexico and another 1.5 million to Canada.
“Our first priority remains vaccinating the U.S. population,” Psaki said at Thursday’s daily press briefing. But she added that “ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is a mission critical step, is mission critical to ending the pandemic.”
The New York Times contextualizes the vaccine loan within the larger landscape of U.S.-Mexico diplomacy:
The announcement of the vaccine distribution came at a critical time in negotiations with Mexico. President Biden has moved quickly to dismantle some of former President Trump’s signature immigration policies, halting construction of a border wall, stopping the swift expulsion of children at the border and proposing a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States.
Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard tweeted, “Good News!”
In Canada, lawmakers applauded the U.S. decision. “God bless America they are coming to our rescue,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.