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US will share AstraZeneca vaccines with world

The move comes as the White House is increasingly assured about the supply of the three vaccines being administered in the US, particularly following the restart of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot over the weekend.

April 26, 2021 / 10:31 PM IST
Source: AP

Source: AP

The US will begin sharing its entire pipeline of vaccines from AstraZeneca once the vaccine clear federal safety reviews, the White House said, with as many as 60 million doses expected to be available for export in the coming months.

The move greatly expands on the Biden administration's action last month to share about 4 million doses of the vaccine with Mexico and Canada. The AstraZeneca vaccine is widely in use around the world but not yet authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The move comes as the White House is increasingly assured about the supply of the three vaccines being administered in the US, particularly following the restart of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot over the weekend.

“Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the US already has and that have been authorized by the FDA, and given that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not authorized for use in the US, we do not need to use the AstraZeneca vaccine here during the next several months," said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. "Therefore the US is looking at options to share the AstraZeneca doses with other countries as they become available.”

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Associated Press

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