US Should Share AstraZeneca Vaccine With Foreign Countries, Public Health Expert Says

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Dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health Dr. Ashish Jha said Friday that the U.S. should share the AstraZeneca vaccine with foreign countries.

Jha told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd he doesn’t believe a single American will receive the company’s vaccine.

“It’s a perfectly good vaccine, but by the time it’s authorized, we’ll have so much other vaccines. So why are we holding onto 30 million doses? Like, let’s get ’em out, we’re not using them, they’re not authorized here, we can’t give them to Americans,” Jha said.

“Let’s get it to Brazil, let’s get it to India, let’s get it to the EU, let’s get it all over the world and let’s keep making more of those and let’s get it to the world. It’s good for the world. It’s also good for us,” Jha said.

Millions of AstraZeneca’s vaccines are stockpiled in American manufacturing facilities, waiting for the clinical trial outcomes, The New York Times reported. Countries that authorized the company’s vaccine are imploring to use the vaccines.

White House and federal health officials are disputing over what should be done with the vaccines, senior administration officials said, according to The Times. Some contend the vaccines should be distributed to other countries and others aren’t prepared to distribute the vaccines, the officials said.

“We understand other governments may have reached out to the U.S. government about donation of AstraZeneca doses, and we’ve asked the U.S. government to give thoughtful consideration to these requests,” Gonzalo Viña, an AstraZeneca spokesman said, according to The Times.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that if there are extra vaccines, they will go foreign countries.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing Thursday that the administration is working to make sure all Americans get a COVID-19 vaccine. Psaki said “any company can work with any country around the world on the purchase of vaccine supply” and said the U.S. won’t have direct involvement in that exchange.

Jha said there’s “a lot more fear from large global outbreaks that we are not dealing with” and said the U.S. can’t become isolated as they learned in 2020.

“If we don’t have a global approach to vaccinations and we let the virus run wild in lots of parts of the world, we are tempting fate,” Jha said.

“We’re going to see a rise, we might see a rise of a variant that renders our vaccines useless. And so the best way to avoid that nightmare scenario, Chuck, is have a very aggressive approach towards vaccinating the world. I don’t think the Biden administration is doing enough on that and I want to see more action on that front,” Jha said.

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