WASHINGTON, March 1 (CNA) - The Biden administration on Monday (Mar 1) downplayed the prospect of sharing coronavirus vaccines with Mexico, saying it is focused first on getting its own population protected against a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.
The remarks by White House press secretary Jen Psaki came before a video conference between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and US President Joe Biden, in which the Mexican leader was expected to ask the United States to consider sharing some of its COVID-19 vaccine supply.
"The administration's focus is on ensuring that every American is vaccinated. And once we accomplish that objective, we're happy to discuss further steps," Psaki said at a White House news conference.
Biden told reporters that the two leaders would discuss the issue at the meeting's outset. But an official statement released after the meeting ended made no mention of vaccine distribution.
Biden has predicted the United States will have enough supply by late July to inoculate all Americans. US authorities have administered 76.9 million doses to date, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enough for 23 per cent of the population to get the two doses recommended for full protection under the vaccines that have been deployed so far.
Mexico has vaccinated roughly 2.5 million doses so far, enough for about 1 per cent of the population, according to data compiled by Reuters. Officials have been frustrated by bottlenecks in supply and raised concerns that wealthy countries are hoarding vaccines.