Biden talks with Trudeau about sending more COVID-19 vaccine doses to Canada
The U.S., increasingly stocked with supply, could soon export more doses
This item is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians.
Canada could be getting another batch of vaccines from the United States, President Joe Biden indicated Wednesday, as his country's vaccination process gallops ahead.
The U.S. has already loosened its tight controls on vaccine supply and allowed 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to be shipped to Canada. Another 2.5 million doses to be shipped to Mexico under a loan agreement.
Biden hinted that more may be coming.
He said he spoke for a half hour by phone Wednesday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and said Canada was one of the countries that could see more imports from the U.S.
"We hope to be of some help and value to countries around the world," Biden said.
"I've talked to our neighbours — a fellow who is working really hard to take care of his country and deal with this; I was on the phone for about half an hour today with the prime minister of Canada. We helped a little bit there. We're going to try to help some more."
He cautioned that the plan was still a work in progress. And he said the U.S. intended to help doses get to other countries, including to Central America.
U.S. awash with COVID-19 vaccines
The U.S. is entering a new phase of its vaccination race.
The U.S. is increasingly awash in supply of COVID-19 vaccines: more than 277 million doses have been sent to states, and 41 per cent of the total population has had at least one dose as have 52 per cent of adults.
The new emerging concern in the U.S. is whether the demand will meet that supply. Vaccination rates aren't rising as fast in certain states, raising questions about whether the U.S. will attain herd immunity.
Biden on Wednesday urged all Americans over age 16 to get vaccinated and urged employers to give workers time off with pay to go get their shot, some of whom are covered by tax credits in order to do so.
The president said he's still hopeful that life will be close to normal by his target date of the July 4th Independence Day holiday — but it's at risk if people hesitate to get shots.
"It's great progress," Biden said.
"But if we let up now and stop being vigilant, this virus will erase the progress we've already achieved."