OTTAWA: Amid questions about when the 20 million AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine doses Canada has a contract for will begin arriving in this country, Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman said U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration isn’t holding back any shots destined for Canada.

“The U.S. absolutely did not hold up the release of any vaccines that were destined for Canada,” Hillman said in an interview on CTV’s Question Period, noting the U.S. is offering to send Canada 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine early, in a dose-sharing deal that’s still being solidified.

The 1.5 million doses would come from the U.S. stockpile, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in that country, and not as part of the contract Canada has with AstraZeneca for 20 million doses of the vaccine developed in partnership with Oxford University that’s being manufactured in the U.S.

However, the expectation is that as part of the agreement, Canada would pay the U.S. back with 1.5 million of those AstraZeneca doses in return, in the months ahead.

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