Welcome to the age of vaccine diplomacy

Workers unload the first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by COVAX in San Luis Talpa, El Salvador, on March 11, 2021. | Photo by MARVIN RECINOS/AFP via Getty Images

Millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines currently sitting in United States warehouses are now destined for vaccination sites in Mexico and Canada, according to the White House. The donation marks one of the US’ first steps into the dawning — and deeply contentious — world of late-stage pandemic vaccine diplomacy.

The neighborly gesture is reportedly a loan — the US expects that they will return the favor and hand over some vaccine doses in the future. The US can certainly afford to be generous with these doses. The AstraZeneca vaccine that it’s donating hasn’t been authorized in the US. The country reserved doses just in case it is eventually given the green light by the FDA, but the vaccine is still being tested in the US. Results from…

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