The decision would make as many as 60 million vaccine doses available for export in coming months, if they clear a federal safety review.
'We are in a position now where we can foresee that we will not be using the AztraZeneca doses that we expect to come on line, ' he said.
He clarified that none of the doses in the stockpile are available now because they have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but that they will begin sending shots once they are authorized. In comparison, India has vaccinated around 10% of its massive population amid a sweeping wave of the pandemic, and many African nations have only vaccinated around 1% of its people.
President Joe Biden spoke to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, pledging U.S. assistance after growing pressure on Washington to help. "Even if the government forces us to get the vaccine as if it's a national ID, I will not go".
While the United States was ready to share its supply of AstraZeneca vaccines once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirms they meet its standards, the official said that India has not asked for ready-to-use vaccines from the US.
The White House is increasingly assured about the supply of the three vaccines its healthcare workers are administering, particularly following the restart of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot over the weekend.
Meera Shankar, also a former Indian envoy to Washington, said while the response from the U.S. can be seen as a delay, India also lacked preparedness and "declared victory over Covid when the numbers were still relatively higher". Like maybe now? It'll help.More news: Thousands of COVID cases over the weekend
'We should be diverting vaccine stock to India now, ' wrote Dr Adam Gaffney, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School tweeted.
'Patents should be disregarded and technology transferred as needed to maximize global vaccine production everywhere'.
Canada is set to receive 1.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, including its first installment of Johnson & Johnson shots.
Lawmakers in the USA have asked Presiden Joe Biden to support an initiative led by India and South Africa to waive Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organisation for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
"We're looking at what is going to be done with some of the vaccines that we are not using". The Pfizer vaccine doses are to be delivered between 2021 and 2023.
The immunization combines genetic material from the new virus with the genes of the adenovirus, which causes the common cold.
Moderna's vaccine needs to be shipped and stored at -4F (-20C) and Pfizer's shot needs needs to be at -94 F (-70C), but AstraZeneca's only requires refrigeration.More news: European Union offers `immediate aid` to help India out of Covid crisis
The official clarified that there was no ban as such under the Defence Production Act on exports of material related to the Covid-19 pandemic but United States companies were required under the law to first fill USA government contracts before others.
"Decisions to send US supply to other countries are made by the USA government", she said.
'Therefore the U.S.is looking at options to share the AstraZeneca doses with other countries as they become available'.
That process could be completed in the next several weeks.
Canada will not be receiving any more AstraZeneca doses this week.
The official said that since there was only a prioritisation of supplies to the United States government under the law and no formal export ban or embargo, USA companies could - and have exported - Covid supplies after meeting U.S. official contracts.
NACI's advice serves only as a recommendation - not a mandate - to provincial health officials who ultimately decide how the vaccine is administered.More news: United Kingdom defense secretary denies ‘deeply unfair’ claims on Boris Johnson