White House confirms Canada asked for help with vaccine supply

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White House press secretary secretary Jen Psaki responded to reports yesterday that Canada, along with Mexico, had both reached out to the new Biden government for assistance with vaccine supply.

“We have received requests from both Mexico and Canada and are considering those requests carefully,” Psaki said. “I don’t have any update for you on whether they will be granted and a timeline for that.”

Both Canada and Mexico appear to be jockeying for any surplus supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine while the White House continues its agenda of ensuring that every American who wants to can get vaccinated, and that it happen as soon as possible.

“The president wants to be, we all want to be, contributing members of the global community and getting the pandemic under control,” Psaki said. “Any decision we make about requests… will ensure that we’re able to still quickly vaccinate the American people, as that remains our top priority.”

Unlike the United States which has an unrivaled capacity for developing and producing vaccines, Canada currently has no domestic manufacturing pipeline and has been lagging in its vaccination efforts, thanks in part to lingering production problems outside of the country. Bottlenecks are only beginning to clear as Health Canada stated that more than 8.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Canada over the next eight weeks.

Shipments of the two-dose Moderna vaccine have not been confirmed past the end of March, while a delivery dates have yet to materialize for the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot and a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Serum Institute of India is set to ship another million doses of its version of the AstraZeneca vaccine in April with an additional 500,000 expected in May.

Canada is also counting on an additional 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca being shipped from a South Korean production facility by the end of May.