President Biden finding a use for the unused COVID-19 vaccines

By Angelica Lara
May 13, 2021

Salisbury by HerryLawford, on Flickr
COVID-19 vaccination stations  Salisbury” (CC BY 2.0) by HerryLawford

With only around 46 percent of the American population currently vaccinated, President Biden is planning to send around 2.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines to both Mexico and Canada to help slow the spread of the virus. 

Currently, in the United States, 58 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine, and the FDA recently also announced that children between the ages of 12 to 15 can now receive the Pfizer vaccine. President Biden is planning to donate vaccines that aren’t being used on American citizens because the FDA is still waiting to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for Americans.

Other countries that have already approved the use of AstraZeneca vaccines are asking America to share their millions of unused vaccines. Mexico’s number of cases continues to rise while Canada is trying to vaccinate more of its population more quickly.

Vaccines-R-Us by raymondclarkeimages, on Flickr
Johnson and Johnson entrance sign Vaccines-R-Us” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by raymondclarkeimages

Similar to the Johnson&Johnson vaccine that has been recently pulled from the available vaccine list, AstraZeneca has caused some rare cases of blood clots and low levels of blood platelets.

These rare side effects occur around two weeks after the vaccine is received, and most of the cases of negative side effects are reported in women under the age of 60. Other risks that could and side effects caused by the vaccine have yet to be confirmed because of limited testing.

Clinical trials are still being performed, which allows medical professionals to study how long this vaccine will protect an individual, as well as which variants of COVID-19 the different vaccines protect people from.

Because of how much is still unknown about this vaccine and how it can protect or affect individuals, the United States has kept AstraZeneca out of the pool of available vaccines. 

Meanwhile, countries such as Canada and Mexico are more focused on deterring citizens from being afraid to receive their AstraZeneca shot because of the rare dangerous side effects they might be hearing about in the news.

Health Canada believes the AstraZeneca vaccine continues to meet their strict safety standards, but they will continue to have testing done because of the rare potential risks like blood clots to the brain.  

The organization says that receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine is worth the rare potential risks of blood clots or low platelets that could happen after receiving it. However, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says the AstraZeneca vaccine is only recommended for people over the age of 55 in Canada. 

Hand holding syringe with vaccine and As by, on Flickr
Wall that say AstraZeneca with vaccine in hand

Hand holding syringe with vaccine and As” (CC BY 2.0) by

Mexico is using AstraZeneca as the main COVID-19 vaccine given to their elderly population. This has been increased because of the vaccines the United States has sent over prior to this. 

Hugo López-Gatell Ramirez, a member of Mexican Health Prevention and Promotion working with the COVID-19 efforts in Mexico, announced on Twitter that the Federal Commission for the Protection of Health Risks in Mexico has authorized the use of the AstraZeneca Vaccine.

Although because of limited testing done with the AstraZeneca vaccine it has been pulled from the American vaccine list, whether the US is planning on sharing more extra vaccine doses with countries outside of North America is still undetermined.

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Angelica Lara

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